London Police to Wear 20,000 Body Cameras by Next Year

By James O Malley on at

As the world hurtles further and further towards Ubisoft's surveillance-hacking game Watch Dogs, the Mayor of London has announced that 20000 police in the capital could be wearing body cameras by the end of March next year.

According to Mayor Watch, the order for the cameras has been placed, and the roll out follows a successful smaller-scale trial. Apparently recording has been successful “where trust is key and police behaviour is under scrutiny, for example in Stop and Search, and where early evidence and victim testimony is critical such as in cases of domestic abuse.".

The cameras will record on a thirty second rolling buffer - so will record 30 seconds, and then delete the footage unless the officer hits the record button. This means that they won't be keeping a record of everything - nor will they have to go through hours of footage to get to the important stuff.

Part-time Mayor Boris Johnson apparently said of the roll-out, “Our plans for the roll-out of body-worn video will make the technology available to more officers in a single city than anywhere else in the world and is a giant step towards a truly 21st century police force for London.”

The cameras are sure to spark fierce debate over civil liberties - with arguments about our privacy being weighed against a desire to build trust between people and law enforcement. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that this comes not long after the Ferguson shooting in America highlights what happens when trust breaks down. [Mayor Watch]