PSNI officers with body cams 'assaulted more often'
PSNI officers wearing video cameras are more likely to be assaulted than those not using the new devices, a new study suggests.
The cameras will become part of the standard PSNI kit in Londonderry next month, and in Belfast later this year. Surprisingly, preliminary results from eight UK and US forces indicated that rates of assault were 15% higher when personnel used the devices.
The PSNI took part in the study and found that local officers wearing the recording devices had suffered 4% more assaults than their colleagues.
Experts said one possible reason for the unexpected finding could be that officers feel more able to report incidents once they are captured on camera, as the evidence is easily available.
However, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton told the Belfast Telegraph the overall success of the 'body cams' trial meant the devices would now be rolled out across the force.
Police officers in the Derry area took part in the study in 2014 as they put body-worn video (BWV) cameras to the test. They were seen as having particular potential for dealing with domestic violence cases, where victims are more likely to withdraw complaints. Video evidence means the PSNI can take at least some of those cases forward.
The rollout of the cameras would cost up to £1.65m, followed by further costs of £480,000 over four years.