Connected solutions manufacturer Axon has announced that West Midlands Police (WMP) has become the first UK force to switch on live-streaming on its body-worn video cameras (BWV).

More than 4,000 front-line WMP officers and staff have begun to carry the new technology which will enable anyone with valid operational reasons to livestream footage from incidents they attend.

Strict police guidelines mean that the cameras are only used to stream during active incidents but WMP said its trials had shown it has been able to respond quicker and more effectively through use of the technology. During trials they have been used at football matches and in protests and routine operations.

When activated, commanders or specialists elsewhere can log in to see what is happening and offer advice, or deploy reinforcements when necessary.

Chief Superintendent Ian Green, who has led the pilot for West Midlands Police, said: "It actually really does help.

"We'll be looking at using it in areas where we have people in crisis, so that we can get the right advice and help there, but actually as officers start to use this I think more and more ideas will come in to make us more efficient and better."

The force has also released recordings of some of the incidents in which the technology was used during the trial period.

In a statement, the force said it has been pleased with the results so far, and that it had carried out extensive consultation and more than 90% of people said “they strongly agreed with us being able to use this new function".

BWV has been in use by the West Midlands Police since 2016 initially used by the response and firearms teams having been trialled at Bourneville. In 2018, the use of BWV was rolled out to all other public-facing police officers and PCSOs.

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Author: Richard Hook