No body cameras inTayside

LAST week Grampian Police announced that the force was the first in Scotland to give every on-duty officer access to pioneering body-worn video camera technology.

Following the successful pilot of the body-worn video cameras in Aberdeen over the past 18 months, the scheme is now to be rolled out across the Moray and Aberdeenshire divisions.

The cameras, which are smaller and lighter than a mobile phone, are worn on the upper body and have so far been utilised as part of a broad range of police work including city centre patrols, specific events, operations and during drugs search warrants.

They take clear and accurate digital images with sound which provides additional evidence and can be critical.

Grampian say the cameras offer many benefits to both police officers and the community, as supported by an independent review on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Of the cases proceeded with by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service which used the video footage as evidence, more than 90 per cent have resulted in an early guilty plea.

This in turn has allowed substantial numbers of officers more time working in their communities and not abstracted to attend court.

The cameras also provide additional protection to officers and add an extra layer of transparency.

This begs the question, is Tayside Police planning to introduce similar cameras?

The answer appears to be no.

A spokeswoman told us: “Tayside Police began a pilot of head-worn and body-worn cameras in Perthshire in 2008. Both devices had advantages and limitations and following the end of the pilot, the decision was made not to proceed with their use at this time.”

But Grampian’s Superintendent Nick Topping said: “I fully expect that these cameras will continue to make a real difference to the residents of Grampian, reducing crime further and enhancing the community safety of all.”