20/10/2015

IPCC Recommend Immediate Change To Body-Worn Camera Position

The current position of body-worn cameras on firearms officers is "unfit-for-purpose" and an alternative mounting system should be introduced at the earliest opportunity, an Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) review has found.

The IPCC has made the recommendation following a review of body-worn cameras (aka, body-worn video or BWV) by armed officers of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). The review was carried out as part of an investigation into the non-fatal shooting of Nathaniel Brophy, 34, in south Clapham on Friday 21 August.

IPCC investigators obtained and analysed footage from cameras worn by some officers during the incident.

In a letter to MPS Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe, IPCC Commissioner Jennifer Izekor raised concerns about the technical positioning of the cameras on officers' bodies and how this impacts on the visual quality of footage available to the IPCC investigator in this case.

The IPCC also noted that while Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) are routinely equipped with BWV, Specialist Firearms Officers (SFOs) are not. The IPCC has recommended that when they are deployed to overt armed response incidents, like the south Clapham shooting, they should be equipped with cameras at the earliest opportunity.

Similar issues regarding the positioning of BWV were identified in the fatal shooting of James Fox in Enfield, however further video footage has been available in that instance.

The non-police firearm recovered from the south Clapham scene has also now been tested and has been confirmed as a gas-canister powered ball-bearing, or BB, gun. The firearm was loaded and resembled a handgun.

IPCC Commissioner Jennifer Izekor said: "Body-worn video has the potential to reassure communities about the actions of police officers but this is fundamentally undermined in firearms incidents when the cameras can't capture critical moments due to no fault of the officers wearing them.

"The IPCC is aware that there are ongoing discussions about this but it is important that these are resolved as quickly as possible to offer communities the reassurance they need from the rollout of BWV and ensure that these provide valuable evidence in IPCC investigations."

(MH/CD)

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