Some London police firearms officers to wear vest-mounted cameras

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 11:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 January, 2014, 11:33pm
AP

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London's police force said it was rolling out vest-mounted video cameras to some of the capital's 2,300 firearms officers, hoping to help build public confidence by allowing jurors and judges to literally see things from an officer's perspective.

The announcement came a day after an inquest jury largely vindicated London police over the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan, which triggered rioting across England more than two years ago. The case, and its controversial conclusion, raised familiar questions about whether armed police are too quick to shoot, and whether they can be held accountable if they are.

Speaking late on Wednesday, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said the camera experiment was an attempt to improve transparency and restore public trust.

"We want to see if this is an effective way to record evidence and ensure public confidence," he said in a statement.

A police spokesman said armed officers would begin wearing recording devices on April 1. The number of officers set to wear the cameras has yet to be decided.

Police forces across the world have been experimenting with portable cameras as tools for crime-fighting and police accountability. Cameras mounted on glasses, helmets or vests are being trialled or distributed across the United States. Several British police forces are also trying out the devices.