Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Kent Police suspend body-worn video camera system in Maidstone, Medway and Thanet less than two weeks in due to equipment problems

Red-faced police bosses have been forced to suspend brand new body-worn video cameras after officers found they could not download film they had recorded.

Kent Police trumpeted the system – in which officers have cameras attached to their chests – in a blaze of publicity less than two weeks ago, but already it has had to temporarily halt the £328,000 scheme.

Officers have complained they are unable to download the recordings because they do not have right software.

PC Oliver Smith and PC Kirsten Jones wearing the video cameras.
PC Oliver Smith and PC Kirsten Jones wearing the video cameras.

The force had hoped to have 430 officers wearing the cameras by mid-October.

Force spokesman Steve Knight said: "Kent Police's introduction of BWV [body worn video] to Medway, Maidstone and Thanet is part of a live test phase to establish good practice and to address any technical issues which may be identified.

"The live test has been positively received by frontline officers during which BWV has contributed towards evidence capture with high-quality arrests.

The body-worn cameras
The body-worn cameras

"The live test has identified a technical issue which is in the process of being rectified. BWV has been suspended for a short time until the identified solution is in place. Officers will continue to execute their duties as normal."

Kent Police believes the equipment will be most useful in domestic violence cases and incidents of public disorder around nightclubs and pubs.

Canterbury city councillor Ashley Clarke, who represents Whitstable's Gorrell ward, was a policeman for 30 years.

Officers are going to be given iPads to help with their work
Officers are going to be given iPads to help with their work

He retired at inspector level having worked around east Kent and working for Special Branch at the Channel Tunnel.

He said: "I really do hope they get this problem fixed so that they are able to use the video properly.

"A few bad seeds have tarnished the police's reputation and we've reached the stage where police officers are no longer automatically believed. It’s important this technology works correctly.

Cllr Ashley Clark
Cllr Ashley Clark

"It's a shame that society has come to this, but at least juries will be able to see what police officers encounter on a daily basis.

"These people come into court like butter wouldn't melt in their mouths, but at the least the juries will be able to see and judge for themselves what has happened.

"Some people are absolutely evil. You get people with HIV spitting in your eye or your mouth.

"These videos will be useful and I hope Kent Police get it sorted.

Video: Police using the body-worn cameras

"The downside is the possibility of yet another administrative burden on the police in as much that one is left with the impression that they have to spend more time recording what they do in case of spurious complaints when that time is best spent out on the streets catching criminals.

"On the other hand, if it results in fewer not guilty pleas and less time in dealing with malicious allegations then that in itself is a result."

The trial has been funded by the Home Office and and Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes.

Police spokesman Keith Fairbank later added: "Kent Police introduced Body Worn Video as part of a live test phase on 17 September involving a small number of officers.

"We have operationally deployed Body Worn Video already and footage has been downloaded.

"The intention of the test phase was to fine tune working practices and resolve any minor technical issues. One issue was identified and will be resolved in the next few days.

"Therefore, officers in Medway, Maidstone and Thanet will return to using Body Worn Video week commencing 6 October."

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More