The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today announced plans to supply the majority of Metropolitan Police officers with roughly 20,000 body-worn cameras within the next ten months.
Like other law enforcement agencies, particularly in the US, London police have been conducting a formal trial of the devices, said to be the biggest of its kind, for the past year. This body-cam beta test, which currently generates around 6,000 video clips each month, is due to complete this summer, but already the hardware has shown promise in on-the-fly evidence collection and improving trust where officer accountability is paramount, such as in stop-and-search scenarios.
The original plan was to distribute 20,000 cameras to officers over a ten-year period, but today that commitment has been vastly accelerated, with an aim to complete the roll-out by April 2016. Should everything proceed as planned -- there are several pending evaluations and reports that'll shape police procedure -- it would make London's police force the most camera-adorned of any city in the world. We have a reputation to maintain, after all.