Forces urged to use new body-worn video policy
The Police Federation of England and Wales is urging more forces to utilise new guidelines which enables them to release body-worn video footage easier.
Last year, National Chair John Apter raised his concerns to the National Police Chiefs’ Council over the public sharing selective video clips of police interactions on social media and the damaging impact it can have on public confidence and criminal justice processes.
As a result, Apter worked with the then NPCC lead on body-worn video Chief Constable Andy Marsh and the NPCC issued new policy to forces November last year, but further improvements need to be made in this area.
Peers discussed the need for forces to be more proactive with releasing body-worn video footage in a House of Lords session on 7 July. As part of that deliberation, Minister of State, Baroness Williams of Trafford, said ‘speed is of the essence’ when it comes to police publicising their interactions with the public.
Following the session, John Apter said: “It is good to see this important issue has been raised in the House of Lords as we have been pushing for change in this area over the past year. What is frustrating is only a handful of forces have adopted the new guidance issued by the NPCC and many are not as proactive as they could be. It shouldn’t be taking so long to do something which would support our colleagues.
“Not only are police officers being hung out to dry when these incredibly damaging, one-sided clips are posted on social media with absolutely no context, but they risk jeopardising public confidence in the service and undermines the criminal justice process.
“Policy is better than it was, but I would strongly urge more forces to take full advantage of the new guidance and be more proactive in either releasing body-worn video clips, or issuing a statement to add context to what is circulating. I completely accept that in some cases we are unable to release footage and the new guidance recognises this - it is all about striking a balance.”