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West Midlands first force to livestream Body Worn Video footage

As of today, updated body worn cameras will enable frontline West Midlands officers to livestream footage from incidents they attend.

West Midlands officers have turned on upgraded body worn cameras, provided by Axxon, which are able to livestream footage once they are in record mode. 

It will enable anyone with a valid operational reason to see the footage in real time, giving the officers both greater protection and extra support should they need. 

The cameras have been tested in different scenarios already including football matches and protests, as well as vehicle pursuits. 

Officers have said that the function enables them to get quicker instruction from supervisors and that further resources can now be deployed quicker if necessary. 

They will be used by all frontline officers and staff but the cameras will not act as a replacement for attending scenes. At the moment they will not be used for independent scrutiny around tactics like use of force and stop and search. 

Currently the livestreams are fed back into laptop and desktop computers, but soon they will also be available via mobility devices. 

Chief Superintendent Ian Green said: “This latest technology has many advantages, not least in increasing officer safety.

“It gives us a real time view of what officers are facing so we can deploy assistance where needed, or advise officers at scenes on preserving evidence or dealing with someone in mental health crisis.

“We are able to map every officer with a camera and see which ones are recording, but there are strict rules that we will adhere to when choosing to live stream. The system is completely auditable and will be monitored for any unauthorised use.

“We’ve been consulting with our communities and partners so they are fully aware of us now having the ability to live stream in public areas. We have carried out extensive consultation and over 90 per cent of people told us they strongly agreed with us being able to use this new function.”

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