London Cops Test Wearable Cameras

Police say people more likely to plead guilty if crime is recorded.

ByABC News
May 8, 2014, 12:17 PM

May 8, 2014— -- Smile, you're on cop cam.

London's Metropolitan Police said today 500 police officers will test wearable cameras made by Taser in hopes the technology will help bring "speedier justice" for victims.

"Our experience of using cameras already shows that people are more likely to plead guilty when they know we have captured the incident. That speeds up justice, puts offenders behind bars more quickly and protects potential victims," Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said in a statement.

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The Taser AXON Body Camera simply attaches to an officer's shirt or belt and records continuously on a 30-second loop. The cameras are being worn by officers -- or "bobbies" as the Brits call them -- in ten boroughs in London.

The palm-sized camera comes equipped with a 130-degree lens, giving officers a wide field of view, and can continuously record for more than 12 hours under normal battery operation.

There are two ways it can be switched on: simply press a button or slide a switch across the top.

When the camera is rolling, it will save 30 seconds of footage from the loop and continue recording, ensuring officers don't miss any potential images that could be used as evidence.

The cameras will have a sticker indicating they are recording video and audio and officers will let people know they're recording, according to a Metropolitan Police video explaining the devices.

Each pixel on the camera captures light with a sensitivity comparable to the human retina, according to the Taser AXON website, making it easier to see footage from nighttime incidents.

The Metropolitan Police said officers will upload the material from their cameras to a cloud-based server at the end of their shifts. Authorities said the footage will be deleted after 31 days unless there is a request to keep it for evidence.

The cameras are already in use in some U.S. cities, including Rialto, Calif. According to data posted on Taser's website, the local police department in Rialto reported an 87.5 percent decrease in complaints and a 59 percent decline in the use of force one year after the cameras were implemented.