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Manchester police to give thousands of officers body cams

Engadget Engadget 18/05/2016 Jamie Rigg

After conducting a prolonged, small-scale trial of body-worn cameras, Greater Manchester Police has announced plans to equip roughly 3,000 officers with the gizmos before the end of the year. The first new devices recently joined the 80-odd already in circulation, with more frontline officers including local Bobbies, special response units and Manchester Airport police to receive theirs over the coming months. The force expects having more cameras in the field will improve evidence gathering, as well as increasing public confidence in the officers wearing them.

Many regional forces (on both sides of the pond) are seeing the value of body-worn cameras; and the commitment from Greater Manchester Police is one of the largest since London's Metropolitan Police began rolling out over 20,000 devices to officers last year. While body cams offer several obvious benefits to both the police and the public, they have their downsides.

Preliminary results from an ongoing study of UK and US forces have shown officers are 15 percent more likely to be assaulted when wearing a camera (idiocy knows no bounds, it seems). And when officers are given more freedom to switch cameras on and off as they feel necessary, use of force increases significantly compared with camera-free shifts, suggesting we still have plenty to learn about where, when and how body cams should be used.

Greater Manchester Police

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