Saturday, November 25, 2006


News this week that the English polis are to trial headcams made me recall my local force's trial with the system.

I can reveal exclusively that I was one of the guinea pigs (sic).

My observations (must stop this punning) were that there were some technical, health & safety and personal issues vis-a-vis the likelihood of complaints against my civility being upheld!

  • Technical - If the camera is mounted as per picture and ours were, then the field of view captured is not that seen by the Officer. All too often the subject being viewed was off screen when replayed. The camera needs to be centrally mounted, which brings me to
  • Health & Safety - Small though the camera was, it could be pushed into my napper, especially if centre mounted, so we would need to wear a protective titfer e.g. cycle helmet or similar. Wearing the kit alone could make you a target.
  • Complaints - when patrolling normally, one can be less self-conscious of the methodology used to disperse miscreants. Given your actions are recorded, please remember to use your most civil tongue when asking the drunk/drugged up lout to move along e.g. "Sir, I do appreciate that it might be slightly inconvenient, but would you mind awfully stopping punching and kicking that gentleman and make your way home."
Having said all that the vidz were potentially powerful evidence and indisputable, especially given the fact that a Polisman's word doesn't seem to be trusted in the way that it used to be.

There will be those that bleat that this is surveillance. How can it be if you are on routine patrol and it is no more than an additional set of electronic eyes, ears and memory.

There was the negative side that some of our ASBOtastic youth thought they were on reality TV and auditioned accordingly!

The trial was just that and I have yet to find out why we didn't carry on with it on a routine basis. Personally I thought that, with a little bit of fine tuning, it could have been an optional tool in the fight against street crime... and no I wasn't the Polis spokesperson in the linked article!

1 comment:

Annette said...

It's a wonder they don't put flashing blue lights on your helmet as well!!!