Technology firm Axon has been aw forded a £505,000 contract by the Scottish Police Authority (SPA) to supply officers with body-worn video (BWV) cameras in time for COP26.
Police Scotland firearms officers will be equipped with the Axon Flex 2 point of view camera ahead of the major climate conference which comes to Glasgow in October and November.
The introduction of BWV will bring the Scottish force in line with other services following chief constable Iain Livingstone’s support for their deployment.
Assistant chief constable Kenny MacDonald said: “Armed policing remains an area of high risk and understandable public scrutiny, and as such the rollout of body worn video will help improve transparency and accountability.
“The safety of our officers and staff as well as that of the public remains paramount in our decision to introduce this technology.
“The use of BWV aims to lead to greater transparency, reduce and resolve complaints, as well as reducing delays to the justice system.
“While this is not new technology and every other armed policing unit in the UK uses body-worn cameras, it is a significant introduction for Scottish policing.
“As such, our public engagement survey for wider use by frontline officers is essential to ensuring people have a voice and it will help us gather and address any ethical and community-related concerns where possible.”
An online survey by Police Scotland in February asked the public about their views on armed officers using BWV to record certain incidents, with nearly 9000 responses.
A separate national consultation is under way on plans to introduce BWV to more police officers and staff across Scotland.
Martyn Evans, SPA chairman, said: “The authority supports fully the rollout of BWV to Police Scotland’s armed officers in advance of the COP26 conference.
“There is clear evidence of the benefits for policing, the public and the wider criminal justice system when BWV is available.
“The authority is committed to supporting Police Scotland in exploring and embracing new technologies for policing while ensuring privacy and human rights are respected and robust oversight arrangements are in place to maintain public trust and confidence.”
COP26 will be held at Glasgow’s Scottish Event Campus from October 31 to November 12, having been postponed from last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly 120 heads of state expected to attend along with around 20,000 accredited delegates.
Paul Strozier, Axon managing director in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to work with Police Scotland on this critical deployment of both cameras and software to equip their armed policing officers.
“Police Scotland has strict, high standards for operational use of any critical equipment and the Axon Flex 2 point of view camera has achieved these standards by being developed specifically to meet the challenges of modern day policing.
“Axon’s user-friendly software solutions will also support collation of evidence, protecting not only Police Scotland officers but also the communities they serve.”