Agenda item

Follow up on Bodyworn video (BWV)

To receive an oral update from the PCC on the roll out of BWV across Dorset Police.


The PCC updated members on the roll-out of BWV across Dorset Police as detailed below:


‘As the Panel knows, I pledged to work with Dorset Police to improve Force technology and infrastructure. One element of this included a commitment to continue work from my first term of office to introduce Body Worn Video (BWV) for police officers.


I believe they are a vital tool to increase the evidence gathering ability of the police, especially in domestic abuse and public order scenarios. They also provide an unbiased record of what an officer has experienced, making the police more transparent and officers’ actions more accountable. Cameras can help diffuse difficult situations as people behave differently when told they are being filmed, as well as proving extremely useful in court to assist officers who have been assaulted and in cases of complaints against police. Public surveys undertaken by my team have shown consistent support from the public in introducing this tactic to the policing of Dorset.


As a quick reminder for those who are new, BWV was introduced with a pilot scheme in Bournemouth in 2016 and thereafter usage was phased-in across Dorset thereafter. The introduction of BWV was, in part, funded by money raised through my precept setting responsibilities. My office was heavily involved in the governance of this process, primarily through the force’s change and transformation board, PRISM, which my Chief Executive attends. This included having oversight of the budgeting and procurement process.


In May 2019 the decision was taken to expand the roll out to include access and availability to members of the Special Constabulary. By October 2019, there will be 913 camera devices in operation within Dorset Police (and approximately 3,000 across the alliance) – with a mixture of personal issue to individual frontline officers and shared issue for those on less frequent frontline duties (eg Sergeants). While it is still too early to appreciate the full impact and benefits of the introduction of BWV in Dorset, the initiative has been well received by both officers and members of the public. Early indications are also that partner agencies appreciate the availability and benefits of real-time visual evidence.


One ‘anecdotal’ account of the benefits of BWV was submitted by DCI Sarah Derbyshire (then of the Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT)) relating to the capturing of “some compelling and relevant evidence for the investigation team” following the murder of Stela Domador-Kouza in 2018. Ryan Thornton has subsequently been found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. A number of positive testimonies and experiences were captured as part of the pilot scheme evaluation.


As part of a Spotlight Scrutiny Review undertaken by this Panel, it was concluded that “there was clear evidence both nationally and locally… that the use of BWV does impact on prevention and detection of crime, nuisance and disorder” and that “there is clear evidence of the force being held to account” by me for the project.


Furthermore, my independent scrutiny panels are also making use of this new technology to view footage in cases of Use of Force and Stop and Search, thereby giving them a greater ability to understand and assess Force activity on behalf of the public. An evaluation survey is currently in process and I expect to hear the results of this later this year.’


A link to the Independent member’s scrutiny report on BWV can be accessed via this link:-