POLICE in the county can lead the way for forces around the world after being handed £399,000 for new body-worn video cameras.
That’s the view of Hampshire’s chief constable Andy Marsh after the county was chosen as one of six forces to benefit from the Home Office’s £1.4m investment.
Hampshire police currently have 450 of the cameras, which officers and PCSOs are issued in order to record video and sound to be used as evidence.
Mr Marsh was recently appointed national policing lead in England and Wales for body-worn video for the College of Policing and the Association of Chief Police Officers.
He said: ‘This funding keeps Hampshire and the Isle of Wight at the cutting edge of body-worn video technology – not just in Britain but anywhere in the world.
‘As well as being very welcome news, this commitment by government is recognition of the massive benefit body-worn video offers in terms of building trust with the public, and having an accurate and verifiable digital record of the evidence.
‘It is my intention, both as chief constable for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and in my new national role to work with other forces who are leading the way to make body-worn video something that the public continues to support – and is available to every uniformed officer.’
Currently, 180 cameras have been issued to specific officers and PCSOs in Hampshire, with the remaining 270 shared within the force on a trial basis.
The funding will be used to roll out the cameras to all officers in the force.
Speaking after the Home Office announcement, policing minister Damian Green said: ‘We welcome the use of camera technology to protect the public and to support the police in discharging their duties.
‘Body-worn video is a powerful tool and can be used by the police to gather evidence to investigate crime.
‘That evidence could also be used to investigate complaints and hold the police to account.’
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has long been a supporter of the cameras.
In a speech to the Police Federation she said: ‘Evidence from Scotland suggests that evidence from body-worn cameras can increase the number of early guilty pleas to the extent that 90 per cent of suspects confronted by that evidence plead guilty early.’