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Belfast cops get body cams as new tech rolled out

By David Young, PA

Published 17/11/2016

Police believe the cameras will secure compelling, real-time evidence of unfolding criminal situations
Police believe the cameras will secure compelling, real-time evidence of unfolding criminal situations

Police officers in Belfast have switched on body-worn cameras for the first time as 400 video recorders are put into service in the city.

The roll-out of the evidence-gathering technology follows a successful pilot scheme in Foyle, where footage was used in a number of prosecutions.

The compact cameras, which attach to the front of police uniforms, are set to be introduced throughout Northern Ireland in a £1.5 million investment.

Police believe they will secure compelling, real-time evidence of unfolding criminal situations.

Commanders think they will be of particular use in instances of domestic abuse, with the hope first-hand victim testimony will prove more powerful than statements.

As well as helping bring perpetrators to justice, the PSNI also points to research that indicates the technology helps avert confrontations before they happen, as people are inclined to moderate their behaviour.

Studies also suggest police officer conduct is less likely to elicit complaints when they are wearing the video equipment.

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