300 faults logged with body-worn police cameras

Over 300 issues have been logged with body worn cameras. Picture; Ian Rutherford
Over 300 issues have been logged with body worn cameras. Picture; Ian Rutherford
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More than 300 faults with Police Scotland’s body-worn cameras have been logged in the past three years.

The cameras were initially trialled in Aberdeen and then rolled out across Moray and Aberdeenshire in 2012.

Data obtained by BBC Scotland found that over a three-year period the number of faults reported with the system doubled.

Police Scotland told the broadcaster most problems had been with the force’s own computers, not the cameras themselves.

Officers have logged 302 faults in the force’s IT portal since 2013, according to information obtained by the BBC.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams told BBC Good Morning Scotland: “There’s been in the region of 300 faults reported, but to give you some context around that, let’s take Queen Street station alone in Aberdeen in the north-east.

“Body-worn cameras have been deployed there in excess of 200,000 times over the period of the trial so the numbers are a tiny tiny percentage of that, and I think what’s more important are the benefits that have come from the delivery of the body-worn videos in the north-east of Scotland.

“We’ve heard from the people of Aberdeen and how positive they are about it and we’ve heard from Chief Inspector Topping around the context of that and some of the benefits that have come from it, including officer safety, including a reduction in police officers having to go to court and perhaps most importantly as a result of that a reduction in the number of victims that have to attend at court to give evidence, which is really really important.”

He said that the force is currently consulting about what the future of policing in Scotland should look like in the next decade, which they are calling policing 2026.

If they were to consider the use of body-worn cameras for potential development they would take into account the lessons learned in the north-east, he said.

Mr Williams said the force has a “transformational budget” to change the organisation and move it forward, allowing them to consider the cost benefits of something like body-worn video.

Andrea MacDonald, chairwoman of the Scottish Police Federation, said they were concerned the force does not have the infrastructure to support the cameras.

She told the BBC: “What we’re concerned about is the cost in the current financial climate for the force which as you know is very dire and we’re also concerned that our IT infrastructure is creaking and worried that it would not be able to cope with body-worn cameras at the present time.

“I would hope it would be part of the wider 2026 programme to give time to take consideration of the public view of this and to look at what exactly we need to get the best cameras we need, and to make sure that our IT is fit for purpose and more importantly that the IT of our partners in the criminal justice system is fit for purpose, because it would be completely counter-productive if they didn’t have the IT to use the evidence that we present from the body-worn cameras.”