Police Scotland has launched a public consultation on the use of bodycams

The public are being asked for their views on the use of body cameras by Police Scotland, as the force looks to follow the rest of the UK by rolling out the technology.

Police started public consultation on the use of the bodycams within the force yesterday (Photo: John Devlin).
Police started public consultation on the use of the bodycams within the force yesterday (Photo: John Devlin).

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, Scotland's top police officer, has previously said the use of body worn video (BWV) equipment by armed police is a "pressing, critical, ethical and operational imperative".

However, the force has now launched the 3 week consultation – started on February 1 – which looks to hear from the Scottish public on whether they have concerns about the use of this technology.

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All other armed policing units in the UK are currently deployed with the cameras and Police Scotland believe that introducing it here will bring officers in line with other forces, and lead to greater transparency and accountability at incidents.

The consultation comes as new figures revealed a slight fall in the number of officers the force in Scotland has.

The latest figures showed that at the end of 2020, Police Scotland had the full-time equivalent of 17,234 officers - 25 fewer than at the end of 2019.

Assistant Chief Constable Kenny MacDonald, leading on the introduction of BWV, said the Chief Constable had "consistently expressed strong support for the greater deployment of body worn video by Police Scotland officers and staff".

Mr MacDonald added: "Armed policing remains an area of high risk and understandable public scrutiny, and as such, this rollout will help improve transparency and accountability.

"The safety of our officers and staff as well as that of the public remains paramount in our decision to introduce this technology.

"While this is not new technology, and every other armed policing unit in the UK uses body worn cameras, it is a significant introduction for Scottish policing, and as such our public engagement survey is essential to ensuring people have a voice and it will help us gather and address any ethical and community-related concerns where possible."

Martyn Evans, chair of the Scottish Police Authority (SPA), stated: "We welcome the launch of a public survey and would encourage as many people as possible to register their views.

“The SPA looks forward to considering all responses as part of our oversight of the implementation of BWV."

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