Big Brother Is Watching

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Big Brother  Is Watching thumbnailAlison Beattie, PSCP officer, and Councillor Julie Flaherty, PCSP chairperson, supporting Inspector Leslie Badger promoting the introduction of body cameras.

OFFICERS patrolling Solitude Park are set to use body-worn cameras for the first time in a bid to tackle the growing issue of anti-social behaviour.

The cameras will be mounted to an officer's body armour, similar to a GoPro, and will record images and audio. Explaining why this is becoming part of an officer's kit, the PSNI say there are a lot of benefits to body-worn video as they can provide a compelling account of the activities of victims and suspects.

And Solitude Park in Banbridge is an area where police are seeking to patrol. The new 300,000 adventure play park has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour and the PSNI is taking this latest step in a bid to curb after-dark problems.

Commenting on the development, DUP Councillor Paul Greenfield said he would welcome anything that would act as a deterrent to those carrying out anti-social behaviour in the area.

“Even the fact that these cameras are going to be around could put people off carrying out anti-social behaviour out of fear that they will be recorded.

“And then if they help to bring prosecutions against those people who are carrying out criminal activity, then I am glad to see that they have been extended out to our area."

"There have been a number of parents who have contacted me to say that they find it hard to use the park with the older kids in it. I would not say that it is a problem area as such but the anti-social behaviour that is taking place now needs to be halted," said Councillor Greenfield.

"Anything that makes people feel safe has to be welcomed," said the DUP Deputy Lord Mayor.

Chief Inspector Jon Burrows said: "The Police Service of Northern Ireland has a programme to rollout Body Worn Video cameras across the organisation following the successful pilot in Derry City and Strabane District of the equipment in June of this year.

"The technology has been used by all front line officers. This is the first area within the service to use the equipment.

"Officers have received training for the camera and on the supporting technology to ensure that the integrity of the footage is protected, while making it as easy as possible to access and utilise this material when preparing files.

“Video evidence goes hand in hand with accountability and transparency, both of which are key elements in increasing public confidence in policing. The Police Service of Northern Ireland is fully committed to these principles as we continue to work together with the community within the context of keeping people safe.

“The roll out of the scheme for the Body Worn Cameras should be completed by the Police Service by 2018. This will include officers from Armed Response Unit who deploy less lethal options including Taser stun guns," Mr Burrows.


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