Police Vans to Fit CCTV for Transporting Detainees

By James O Malley on at

The Metropolitan Police has announced plans to fit the vans it uses to transport detainees with CCTV in a move that is surprising because... well... it hasn't already been done.

The new CCTV system will switch on automatically when the van's ignition is switched on, and includes 5 cameras (two facing out of the front and back, three inside), 3 microphones and 2 monitors to watch footage on. Apparently the system will continue to record for 30 minutes after the engine has been switched off. The monitor at the rear allows for continuous monitoring of detainees whilst they are being transported.

The idea behind the roll out is to improve transparency and allay concerns about deaths in custody, and is being rolled out following a successful trial in Haringey and Lambeth in 2012.

Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said: “I made a promise that we would do this after concerns were raised by a number of bereaved families, including the family of Sean Rigg, who died in custody after he was conveyed in a police van to Brixton police station."

Anticipating inevitable civil liberties concerns the force has also said that recordings will be automatically deleted after 22 days, unless footage is required as part of the criminal investigation or "other policing purposes".

Usually at this point in a story about CCTV there's a bit where we would express concerns about the creeping lack of privacy or something - but this move actually seems fairly sensible. It does, however, follow the more controversial move to equip officers on the beat with wearable cameras, which could conceivably have more privacy implications.