Video footage from police officers’ body worn cameras will now be uploaded to the Cloud, giving solicitors quicker access to important evidence.
In an increasingly digitised justice system, this new initiative may mark the end of days spent struggling to play video evidence in Court on outdated VCRs or malfunctioning DVD players. It has often been the experience of clients charged with criminal offences that the Police and CPS have failed to provide key evidence in a reasonable time or in a playable format; this routinely leads to lengthy delays, often in summary only cases, resulting in unnecessary adjournments and a waste of both private and public time and money.
Under the new regime, body-worn footage will be uploaded to an encrypted website when a police officer returns to the station. Seconds later, the officer can share that footage with prosecutors via a link, which can then be shared to the Defence and the Court. The footage can be streamed in any web browser and on any device so there is no need for any specialist equipment or software to be used.
The system is currently live in the majority of London boroughs and will be rolled out throughout the capital by August. The British Transport Police also plans to implement the new system.
Body-worn footage can often be a determining factor in criminal trials and is also an essential check and balance against abuses of power or failure to observe codes of practice. This enhancement in the speed of availability of such evidence is a positive development, which should benefit both defendants and the wider criminal justice system.