back to article Transparency thrust sees Met police buying up to 30,000 bodycams

The Metropolitan Police is to begin buying up to 30,000 body cameras, as part of its ambition to become "the most transparent police force in the world", The Register has learned. Stephen Deakin, interim chief technology officer at the Met, told El Reg at the police tech provider TASER Summit: "We are accelerating the …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait for...

    The camera was broke.

    We lost the footage.

    There was a problem when we transferred it to the computer.

    The picture is too blurry.

    The officer accidentally blocked the camera with his/her arm.

    We can't give you the footage due to the official secrets act/terrorist activities.

    The camera ran out of space so was not recording.

    The officer forgot to switch it on.

    The camera fell off.

    It was left in the vehicle.

    There was Interference from a nearby mobile mast.

    The dog ate it.

    Not that I'm cynical in any way.

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      Re: Can't wait for...

      There's a flip side to that of course. How about:

      Repeated leaks of footage of "wrong-doing" by Plod

      Personal accountability

      Eventual recognition that the law applies to everyone

      (Well, I can at least dream, can't I? They can't film that. Yet)

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Can't wait for...

        "(Well, I can at least dream, can't I? They can't film that. Yet)"

        Well yeah, they sorta can. This was 4 years ago.

        Be afraid. Be very afraid. (for more references, search "scientists able to record dreams video")

    2. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Can't wait for...

      Police officers can claim whatever they like but it is whether anyone believes them which is what really matters.

      If society is not properly holding the police to account, willing to accept any flimsy excuse or lie from bent coppers, then that is a societal failing. Police can only exploit that when we let them.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't wait for...

      Constable savage could probably find a few extra excuses to add to that list:

    4. Jason 41

      Re: Can't wait for... @AC

      Ding Ding Ding...

      We have a winner

      We can't give you the footage due to the official secrets act/terrorist activities ... and or has footage of children on there and so if you want to see it then you must be a terrorist or pedophile

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Can't wait for... @AC

        If it's an ordinary arrest, then terrorist stuff is irrelevant.

        If terrorist stuff is relevant, then the COURT still gets to see the police footage.

        If the courts still fail to convict police officers in the wrong, or convict innocent civilians with proof they are in the right, you have a problem that no amount of tech can solve anyway.

        Everyone can moan, but police footage is a forward-step. The police footage of the recent murder-by-cop in America was released by the police themselves, and if they'd had body-cams, that would have been an invaluable instant-proof of what actually happened.

        And if you claim police brutality and JUST at the moment that would prove your case the footage cuts out? That should be no different to concealing or destroying evidence in other ways. No reported problems but they ONLY happened when the prisoner was walking down the stairs to the cells, and then worked immediately afterwards on inspection by the tech support? Yeah, a court cannot ignore that without being - in itself - corrupt and able to ignore whatever it likes anyway.

        There's a million reasons to have cameras and none not to. Put them on. If there's a sudden spate of cameras going off only at critical moments, then it's easy to spot the pattern and discipline the officer. In the same way, if their ID isn't valid, their car isn't roadworthy or their uniform not compliant, the officers in question will be asked to return to the station to pick up a replacement immediately and anything that "may have happened" in between will be heavily scrutinised.

        Put bodycams on. Make them work in pairs, if necessary. So *BOTH* of your cameras both stopped filming at a critical moment just before? Mmm. Yeah, a court and your lawyer won't see through that.

        This solves the problem with the trust in the police. It doesn't solve the problem of trust in the courts or other parts of the justice system. But it's the police that always get the rap from the public when the CPS decides they don't have evidence to prosecute etc. so that isn't a situation you can fix.

        Restore trust in the police, though, and suddenly the public have a much better reason to trust them. Bodycams are essential in this, in this day and age.

    5. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Can't wait for...

      I think its more likely that the bit of film of you beating PC plods boots with your groin is in there somewhere but due to an indexing problem you have to find to 3 minutes in 720,000 hours of video.

    6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Can't wait for... the inevitable

      And is the footage recorded public property for general viewing and enlightenment or for the private viewing and possible doctoring of a chosen few, such as do cases such as this one raise all too easily, and have every man and his dog thinking of cover-ups and perversions of the course of justice and corruption in the ranks of law enforcement .......

      And whenever something is possible, is it always probable.

    7. Triggerfish

      Re: Can't wait for...

      They will probably just end up arresting each other for filming police officers in public, under some part of the anti-terrorists offence list they don't understand.

      There be released images of police officers beating up other officers, and claiming it was a resisted arrest, the police complaints commission will eat itself trying to suppress evidence on both sides of the complaint.

      Could be entertaining.

  3. Ogre

    Grammar police

    Fewer police complaints

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fewer police complaints...

      I thought they traditionally achieved this by having fewer police?

  4. fajensen

    More Crimes, Just what "we" need!

    ... the use of the technology will dramatically cut costs by speeding up the time it takes to compile evidence and bring a case to trial. "It's about taking an holistic view of the criminal justice system," he said ...

    So, every time we see PC Plod one has to be aware that everything registered by his/her sensor package will go off to the cloud where:

    a) Multiple MI-systems are going through the data for possible offences that must be prosecuted to the letter, since now they are on the record,

    b) Stored forever - in the case new offences are created,

    Fucking Brilliant! How can this possibly be un-good?

    1. streaky

      Re: More Crimes, Just what "we" need!

      Stored forever - in the case new offences are created

      I'd just like to draw your attention to this.

      1. Dan Paul

        Re: More Crimes, Just what "we" need!

        And that same statement of EU Convention on Human Rights applys to Google as well - 1. No one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the criminal offence was committed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: More Crimes, Just what "we" need!

          Most married men know that to be an illusion...


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More Data Protection Issues. - More video for the police to sell to TV programs

    So All this Data (footage) they collect,

    With Facial recognition being used how much more tracking will they be able to do of the innocent public?

    How long will footage be kept for and under what security?

    Will the police start selling more of this footage to TV programs - I will no longer interact with officers if they have a camera and this is even a Remote possibility. It needs putting in to LAW that this data can ONLY be used for policing and has strict limits to avoid fishing exercises being done with it and NO sale to commercial interests.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Police get quite uppity when you film them but when they film you it's a different story.

    1. streaky

      I've never known the police get uppity about being filmed/photographed. Sometimes about what they're near but not themselves.

      It's all evidence regardless, always remember that if they ask you to delete things..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I've never known the police get uppity...

        You've not had the "pleasure" of meeting many Police Officers, then.

        1. streaky

          Re: I've never known the police get uppity...

          Police aren't the problem in my experience, it's usually private security who don't know what the fk they're talking about. I do a lot of photography around Canary Wharf and in London. Police show up you generally tell them to tell them to do one and they oblige.

          And trust me I have plenty of photos of the police, for example the one on the header of my twitter profile. They've never asked me not to once nor used threatening behaviour.

  7. Jemma

    You missed:-

    My colleague was pointing the wrong direction.

    The server hard drive crashed.

    We lost the instructions.

    The camera subsequently fell in his/her coffee/the toilet/the nearest canal (up north)/the nearest water feature (everywhere else).

    I'm a transphobic/homophobic sociopathic closet UKipper (the long version)

    I deleted it on pur... by mistake. (the short version)

    The camera was suicidal and jumped before we got there..

    I accidentally taped over the card in my GoPro...

    It bore a passing resemblance to a Brazilian electrician after I'd had several pints.

    It really doesn't matter anyway since you aren't allowed to take the Police to court anyway and the IPCC are "independent" in the same way as elections involving Robert Mugabe are "democratic".

    I'm just waiting for the Conservative/UKIP coalition and the renaming of Harlow to Faragegrad. Come back Uncle Adolf, all is forgiven..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You also forgot......

      It fell down the stairs.

      1. Jemma

        Re: You also forgot......

        ...and then I accidentally must have slammed it in my desk drawer, five or six times.... so I'm clumsy..

        Old Stoneface would be spinning in his grave...

        A good motto for police brutality protesters - "we who are about to die,* don't want to..."

        * accidentally get our heads bashed in (for non stateside readers)

        Sir Terry Pratchett - for when amateur cynicism just isn't enough.

        I've heard it said that other countries police forces consider the UK police the gold standard - Gods help the rest of the world..

    2. Bloakey1


      "I'm just waiting for the Conservative/UKIP coalition and the renaming of Harlow to Faragegrad. Come back Uncle Adolf, all is forgiven.."

      You forgot the most obvious one "the GoPro had a very nasty fall down the stairs".

      Anyway, what does it matter? from what I can see each pair of Coppers has at least a ten man film crew with them.

      Where I live the police are as likely to give you a slap if you are naughty, they take bribes and one once offered to sell me some guns from the back of his car.

      Whoops, stairs already mentioned.

  8. Peter Galbavy

    Unless individual officers are held to account - which at the moment the law does not allow for those on duty, they're protected - and the sanction for interfering with these cameras is at least as high as the potential perjury or crime they hide then they are simply worthless. Except to the corrupt individuals who have handled the multi-million £ procurement exercise, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ding ding. We have a winner.

      "Except to the corrupt individuals who have handled the multi-million £ procurement exercise, of course."

  9. Tsung

    "Goodier said the equipment and storage costs would be fronted by the police, "

    Oh good at least the tax payers wont be footing the bill.... oh wait....

  10. Bob McBob

    Data protection implications

    I's ask for this to be turned off before any plod comes into my home - next thing you know it'll be on a 'National Security' database mapping the inside of people's houses.

    Serious safeguards needed to avoid this being abused

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Data protection implications

      I's ask for this to be turned off before any plod comes into my home - next thing you know it'll be on a 'National Security' database mapping the inside of people's houses.

      Good point. They need probable cause or an invite from you to enter, and if it's on invitation you can make that conditional on the camera being switched off. Otherwise they can stay at the door as far as I'm concerned.

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: Data protection implications

        "Good point. They need probable cause or an invite from you to enter, and if it's on invitation you can make that conditional on the camera being switched off. Otherwise they can stay at the door as far as I'm concerned."

        Ahhhhh, but asking them to turn off their camera could be constituted as probable cause!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Data protection implications

          So if you're raided, your house layout gets put on the internet?

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: Data protection implications

            It becomes a new level on Battlefield Hardline.

    2. Allan George Dyer
      Big Brother

      Re: Data protection implications

      "Turn the camera off, of course sir."


      "Right, get 'im lads"

      *thump* *thump* *scream* *moan*

      *click* (facing street)

      "Thank you sir, have a good evening."

  11. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "I don't know of any police force that is not already trialling this in some form. This is the future."

    What, so each Police force is independently paying, trailing and developing systems, methods and procedures? Isn't this the sort of thing ACPO should be doing? Likewise, ought their not be some legislation in place before every copper becomes a Google view drone?

  12. David Pollard

    Online face recognition?

    Will these cameras be coupled into the rather large database that has already been generated of the untermensch of usual suspects?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    face recognition

    One reason i'm happy in the countryside....

    London City Police walking round with Automatic face recogntion cameras on, CCTV with automatic face recognition on, mobile phone apps with automatic face recogntion enabled............... Google glass with automatic face recogntion.. Oh Hi Mr Fawkes, oh I see your an I.T. professional and live in Hammersmith, I see your latest social feed, oh hey weren't you the guy that...............

    1. EddieD

      Re: face recognition

      Can't wait to be stopped by the police when cycling (my standard transport mode) because my helmet, glasses and buff (covers my ears and chin) are preventing facial recognition. And bikers will be prevented from full-face helmets.

      Won't be long.

  14. James Cane


    They have good intentions, no doubt, but this is just plain creepy. One more step removed from natural human interaction, one more step in the direction of total surveillance. Don't we have enough cameras already?

    There are some things for which the solution is not more technology.

  15. Why Not?

    I look forward to greatly reduced lawyer costs (if its on tape its difficult to argue with either way).

    Fewer issues with stop & search If its justified it can be reviewed so community leaders can support the police and if its not the officer can be corrected as needed.

    I don't fancy more Police Camera Action episodes but I suppose it does convince the do gooders that there are some wrong uns out there.

    so about time!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big Brother complete.....

    Every action recorded, and poured over to find ways of finding criminal activity in day to day behaviour.

    Add in face recognition from a UK wide ungoverned database, and you can automatically trawl through it to find specific people to pin specific crimes on.

    Why not go on step further - expand on the current UK CCTV surveillance, which is already has one of the highest density in the world - add drones to the skies, microphones in all public spaces, cameras in your homes - the internet of surveillance things. If you've nothing to fear you've nothing to hide.

    I see a future where surveillance is automated - cameras and mics in every part of society, looking for whatever the government deems deviant behaviour. Couple this with monitoring everyones electronic activity (phone, internet etc) and you have a complete set.

    Comply Citizen. We are watching you.

  17. Seabhcan

    If they are not always-on then these 30k cameras will get junked after the first unrecorded shooting/beating.

    If they are always-on, then the Met's already shoddy IT infrastructure will collapse under the weight of 10000 hours of video per hour (assuming an 8 hour shift) upload & storage. 240TB of video per day, 100,000 TB per year (law says evidence need to be retained for 5/7 years).

    For comparison, YouTube deals with 2/3rds of this volume globally. The Met's IT guys are less funded than YouTube.

    And then scale that across the whole UK? Multiply by 10.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Of no real benefit, except

      as an earlier commentor mentioned - "Except to the corrupt individuals who have handled the multi-million £ procurement exercise, of course."

    2. Justicesays

      The solution is simple

      When a camera equipped police office goes off shift, it will be their job to declare to the desk sergeant if there is anything of evidentiary interest on the camera. If they don't, the camera storage will be overwritten tout suite.

      Any complaints against a specific officer will somehow get delayed just long enough that the camera will have already been reused, unless the person making the complaint has a lawyer with a court order on hot dial.

      There will be some "guidelines" that will indicate that after certain categories of police work, all the camera evidence is kept (like protest suppression policing) , but it turns out that in this case the procedures weren't followed correctly. Sorry, could happen again.

      Problem solved.

  18. ecofeco Silver badge

    30,000 body cams

    Several thousand "mysteriously" malfunction.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Transparent policing..

    .. as in "nothing to see here, move along"

  20. The Vociferous Time Waster

    How do they manage this?

    how do they manage the temptation to turn it off when they are beating up a minority? Also who backs the cards up at the end of the shift? 8 hours of plod is a fair chunk of data to store each day and they should be time stamped and indexed to the officer with full meta data search

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is Britain - not America

    By comparison British Police are amongst the best the world. Not flawless or blameless but just imagine if this were to happen in the UK - - then the local Police considered it OK!?! Even if the US Police capture gratuitous red mist on camera they defend it!

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