Police Scotland launches consultation on use of bodycams

Public being asked for their views on supplying armed officers with body worn video equipment.

Police Scotland launches consultation on use of bodycams PA Media

The public are being asked for their views on the use of bodycams by Police Scotland, as the force looks to roll out the technology.

Scotland’s top police officer, chief constable Iain Livingstone, has already said the use of body worn video (BWV) equipment to armed police is a “pressing, critical, ethical and operational imperative”.

Now the force wants to hear from Scots if they have concerns about the use of such technology.

All other armed policing units in the UK are currently deployed with the cameras. Police Scotland said introducing it here will bring officers in line with other forces, and lead to greater transparency and accountability at incidents.

Assistant chief constable Kenny MacDonald, who is leading on the introduction of BWV, said the chief constable had “consistently expressed strong support for the greater deployment of body worn video by Police Scotland officers and staff”.

Mr MacDonald added: “Armed policing remains an area of high risk and understandable public scrutiny, and as such, this rollout 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.

“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, and as such our public engagement survey is essential to ensuring people have a voice and it will help us gather and address any ethical and community-related concerns where possible.”

Martyn Evans, chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), stated: “The use of body worn video is widespread across UK policing and the benefits to effective policing such as improved officer safety, reducing and resolving complaints against officers and an increase in early guilty pleas, have been positively evaluated in the current limited use across Scotland.

“However, it is important that whenever new technology is adopted, that the implications are fully considered through an extensive stakeholder consultation process.

“We welcome the launch of a public survey and would encourage as many people as possible to register their views. The SPA looks forward to considering all responses as part of our oversight of the implementation of BWV.”

The consultation started on February 1 and will last for three weeks.

It comes as new figures showed a slight fall in the number of officers the force in Scotland has.

The latest figures showed that at the end of 2020, Police Scotland had the full-time equivalent of 17,234 officers – 25 fewer than at the end of 2019.

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