back to article Manchester cops to strap on 3K bodycams

Just a few days after a counter-terrorism incident which involved precisely zero terrorists, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has started to deploy 3,000 body-worn video (BWV) cameras to its coppers. After enabling the evacuation of 75,000-seater Old Trafford on the final day of the Premier League, for what turned out to be a …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Goodbye to fuzzy CCTV footage......oh wait

    that's 3000 cams not cams with 3000 lines of resolution.....what a fool i am.

    1. Alexander J. Martin

      Re: Goodbye to fuzzy CCTV footage......oh wait

      I'd expect HD to be at least 720p, but didn't get any confirmation on that.

  3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Turned on at their discretion?

    Perhaps this could be extended to recordings of interviews

    The tape can be started and stopped "at their discretion"

    1. 's water music

      Re: Turned on at their discretion?

      just after the suspect fell down the stairs?

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: Turned on at their discretion?

        Why not? That's how the police incredibly successfully dealt with terrorism in the '70s — ask any of the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, Maguire Seven...

  4. Craig 2

    If you're stopped by the police and see the officer turn off his bodycam... run!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't try that in the US, you'll get shot in the back eight times like Walter Scott and the officer will claim "he feared for his life", and it will take a bystander with a camera to prove the cop was a lying coward.

    2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      @Craig 2 - Or tell the officer that your body cam is live streaming to a secure server in a different jurisdiction...

  5. Rob Crawford

    No doubt only the footage they want will survive the holding period and like a friends medical records anything inconvenient will vanish.

  6. Vimes
    1. Alexander J. Martin
      Thumb Up

      Great move Vimes

      Please ping us when you get a response through!

  7. Bob McBob

    I presume these will be switched off in non public spaces?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I expect not. It would be very useful for gathering evidence when entering homes of domestic violence calls, drug raids etc.

      1. Bob McBob

        Whatbout the cop who inadvertently looks through my living room window and gets a view of the inside of my house? This is creepy state surveillance by the backdoor

        1. User McUser
          Coat

          Whatbout the cop who inadvertently looks through my living room window and gets a view of the inside of my house? This is creepy state surveillance by the backdoor

          Welp, I guess it's curtains for you then.

        2. Adam Foxton

          That's not too bad

          Anything visible from the street is publicly visible anyway.

          It can easily be thwarted by curtains, blinds, clothes horses, some sort of legal indoor foliage, or anything else not optically transparent.

          As other have said, the worry is when they turn it off. Why even give officers that ability? Storage is cheap and something like a mobile-phone-grade camera reading onto an SD card would take sod all power to run.

          1. Adam 52 Silver badge

            Re: That's not too bad

            "As other have said, the worry is when they turn it off. Why even give officers that ability?"

            How about when taking the intimate sample from the rape victim? Think she's going to want that on video?

            Or explaining to a four year old why mummy is in the ambulance and daddy is being taken away for a while.

            Or whilst asking the local "youth" to grass on the rival gang members.

            Or passing granddad's death message.

            Body worn is excellent. It is absolutely wonderful for making Mr "I know my rights" go away or for making drunk people decide that they'd rather not have a fight but it isn't always appropriate.

            It's also quite hard to find cameras with 12 hour cold weather battery endurance.

            Please, please. Most of you here have no idea at all what it's like outside of your cosy middle class world. You have probably never attempted to find the motorcyclists missing torso or attempted to hold his spleen out of the mud for 2 hours waiting for the ambulance whilst being spat on and filmed for YouTube. Especially not any of you who might be Specials!

            1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

              Re: That's not too bad

              @Adam52

              If the footage is going to be kept secure with no possibility of unauthorised access as is claimed, and destroyed after a month if it is not required, I see nothing wrong with filming any of the situations you describe. As for your suggestion that 12 hour endurance for the camera is not possible - the camera should draw less than the average mobile phone or police radio, both of which can operate for 12 hours in cold weather with no problem.

              Yes, I know that the police sometimes have gory and harrowing duties, and as an ex-soldier who served in a war zone I possibly have had even worse experiences - but what on Earth has that got to do with filming the incident? If the incident involved nothing that needs to be checked or reviewed, then nobody will ever need to replay the footage, so what's the harm in having it? Unless of course you believe that there is a significant risk that it could all end up on YouTube, in which case say so.

              1. Adam 52 Silver badge

                Re: That's not too bad

                "I see nothing wrong with filming any of the situations you describe."

                You might be ok, but I bet you're in a minority.

                1. User McUser

                  Re: That's not too bad

                  You might be ok, but I bet you're in a minority.

                  Well I also have no issue with those things, so that's two to one so far...

                  How about when taking the intimate sample from the rape victim? Think she's going to want that on video?

                  Surely a nurse or technician with special training would take such a sample and not the beat cop that responds at the scene of a crime.

                  Or explaining to a four year old why mummy is in the ambulance and daddy is being taken away for a while.

                  It's a passive device on the officer's uniform - not a camcorder with bright lights being stuck in your face so I don't see why this would be a problem. And again, most likely the kid is going to be handled by an expert who knows how to explain things to little kids.

                  Or whilst asking the local "youth" to grass on the rival gang members

                  I guess maybe? But then again, what's the issue here? Do you think the gang members will get a copy of the tape in order to take their revenge?

                  Or passing granddad's death message.

                  Again, what's the issue here? Sure it's sad to tell someone their relative is dead but I don't see how it being recorded is somehow a problem. It isn't as if the footage will be broadcast.

                  1. Adam 52 Silver badge

                    Re: That's not too bad

                    "Surely a nurse or technician with special training would take such a sample and not the beat cop that responds at the scene of a crime."

                    No. "Beat cop" is called "response" because they respond to anything turns up.

                    "And again, most likely the kid is going to be handled by an expert who knows how to explain things to little kids."

                    No. You really have no idea what you're talking about.

                    "I don't see how it being recorded is somehow a problem"

                    Then you really need to see more people in emotionally stressful situations.

                    1. User McUser

                      Re: That's not too bad

                      "Surely a nurse or technician with special training would take such a sample and not the beat cop that responds at the scene of a crime."

                      No. "Beat cop" is called "response" because they respond to anything turns up.

                      Huh? Camera or not, the police officer that responds to a crime is NOT going to be collecting evidence - that's a crime-scene technician or detective's job. You don't want evidence tainted or damaged by someone who isn't properly skilled and allow a criminal to escape justice based on a technicality do you?

                      "And again, most likely the kid is going to be handled by an expert who knows how to explain things to little kids."

                      No. You really have no idea what you're talking about.

                      If you say so. I happen to personally know a CPS (that's Child Protective Services) agent and he does this sort of thing all the time. The police call CPS when they have a child in a situation like this because CPS agents have the knowledge and experience that the police officers don't.

                      "I don't see how it being recorded is somehow a problem"

                      Then you really need to see more people in emotionally stressful situations

                      Well then I'd need a video of it wouldn't I?

                      What's the scenario here that has you so worried? So cop tells family that their grandpa is dead and then the camera like blows a raspberry at them or something? Or does it just start immediately uploading to YouTube and leaving racist comments?

                      Seriously though, how does the presence of a camera recording these events ruin or complicate them?

                  2. Mark Exclamation

                    Re: That's not too bad

                    @User McUser

                    "You might be ok, but I bet you're in a minority.

                    Well I also have no issue with those things, so that's two to one so far..."

                    So you'd be happy for a video of you going to the toilet being available for someone else to watch? Really? If you *are* happy with that, then we should treat your previous posts with the contempt they deserve.

                    1. User McUser

                      Re: That's not too bad

                      So you'd be happy for a video of you going to the toilet being available for someone else to watch? Really? If you *are* happy with that, then we should treat your previous posts with the contempt they deserve.

                      Why is the police officer in the toilet with me?

                      1. Mark Exclamation

                        Re: That's not too bad

                        "Why is the police officer in the toilet with me?"

                        Yup, that reply just about sums up the value of your previous posts.

              2. Vimes

                Re: That's not too bad

                Unless of course you believe that there is a significant risk that it could all end up on YouTube.

                I would think that sometimes perception is sometimes just as important, and not just the facts. Presumably police officers will be encountering people who are already extremely upset or in distress of one sort or another. Such people that the police have to deal with might not always be thinking things through rationally before reacting.

                Leaving what security that will actually protect this footage, for the sake of argument if you were one such police officer you might believe that the footage is safe. You might even know it for a fact.

                The same doesn't necessarily apply to those people that you will be dealing with in the course of your job though. Such people could already be upset enough to begin with, without the additional stress of being filmed however reasonable that might be once it's explained to them.

              3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: That's not too bad

                "If the footage is going to be kept secure with no possibility of unauthorised access as is claimed, and destroyed after a month if it is not required, I see nothing wrong with filming any of the situations you describe."

                And then at some point the accused demands all the video of the distressed victim and promptly posts it on YouTube.

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: That's not too bad

              "How about when taking the intimate sample from the rape victim? Think she's going to want that on video?"

              Police surgeon's job.

              1. Vic

                Re: That's not too bad

                Police surgeon's job.

                Should be. I'm not always sure it works that way.

                My mate's girlfirend died suddenly a few years ago. The cops that turned up were convinced he'd killed her[1].

                They made an intimate inspection of her body. They weren't exactly respectful[2]. They weren't exactly sensitive to the grieving family members in the house.

                Once the truth of the matterhad come to light, there was, of course, precisely zero action against the perpetrators of that inhumanity.

                Vic.

                [1] He hadn't, of course. She died from natural causes.

                [2] You've seen the over-used snapping of the latex glove thing? They did that right in his face. Bastards.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: That's not too bad

              Simple. Footage like that would currently get Public Immunity. The judge decides whether the court should see it. An officer can't be accused of being selective if the kit records continuously.

          2. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: That's not too bad

            "As other have said, the worry is when they turn it off"

            It would be "interesting" to give cops cameras that they only _think_ they can turn off. Flagging when an attempt is made, etc.

            I've had some very interesting experiences when using a covert and overt camera and someone's demanding the visible one be turned off.

  8. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Secure?

    “kept for a month on a UK 'cloud' managed by an outside company which police bosses are confident will be secure,”

    <chokes on coffee while laughing>

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Secure?

      I wonder if these "police bosses" are confident enough to put their bank details in the same place?

      1. hplasm
        Unhappy

        Re: Secure?

        "I wonder if these "police bosses" are confident enough to put their bank details in the same place?"

        Probably. Worrying, isn't it?

    2. choleric

      Re: Secure?

      Exactly. This sort of thing has worked so well for celebrities over the years, why shouldn't the police try it?

      Watch out for The Ploddering coming to a Bittorrent near you soon.

  9. Ted Treen

    In Manchester??

    How long before the first plod is mugged for his camera?

    1. hplasm
      Devil

      Re: In Manchester??

      Should be ok as long as they stay out of Salford.

  10. Kane Silver badge
    Coat

    Colour me suspicious...

    "Footage will be stored for 31 days unless required for evidence it incriminates one of their own, in which case it can be saved deleted for as long as required ever"

    Or alternatively:

    "Footage will be stored for 31 days unless required for evidence, in which case it can be saved for as long as required ever, much like the ANPR system."

    Is that my cynics coat? I'll just grab it, thanks.

  11. lglethal Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Sigh...

    I was going to say colour me impressed! Not that the cops are wearing cameras or anything but that it seemed that might we now have the technology to store a full days worth (OK make it 8 hours) of HD footage on a wearable camera device. Something I hadn't heard of before. But then I read those wonderful words "Police can turn the cameras on at their discretion." Lovely, so how much recording can they ACTUALLY do? What are your guesses? 1 hour? 30mins?

    1. Sooty

      Re: Sigh...

      I have a gopro, with a 64gb micro sd card, it can store 9+ hours of 1080p video...

      The battery only lasts about 3 though, I assume these have a larger battery than the tiny one in the gopro and would be fine for all day. There should be no real reason these couldn't be recording at all times while on duty, with plod having to report any breaks in the footage.

      The turn on/off at the officers discretion is presumably so they don't have to record themselves taking a dump etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sigh...

        "I have a gopro, with a 64gb micro sd card, it can store 9+ hours of 1080p video..."

        How long for a sty of rozzers to upload 64GB each to the cloud?

      2. Adam 52 Silver badge

        Re: Sigh...

        GoPro disagree with you.

        https://gopro.com/support/articles/hero3-battery-life

        1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

          Re: Sigh...

          The time the battery lasts on a GoPro is irrelevant. Those batteries are small 4WH LiPos. There's nothing to prevent a body-cam being supplied from a battery having 10 times capacity in a separate pouch on the uniform. A 40WH LiPo is still reasonably small and negligible weight.

  12. Woodnag

    Storage

    It's amazing that the police demand almost infinited storage duration for anything on the PNC, including illegally maintained biometrics on those arrested but innocent, yet they can only argue to store their own directly obtained evidence for a month. Talk about wanting to control the data.

    And don't tell me that, despite the 31 day nonsense, the stuff isn't backed up by Cheltenham independently. Since 5 eyes want everything, why would they let this go?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Storage

      "It's amazing that the police demand almost infinited storage duration for anything on the PNC, including illegally maintained biometrics on those arrested but innocent, yet they can only argue to store their own directly obtained evidence for a month."

      So, damned if they do, damned if they don't?

  13. ChrisElvidge

    Police Body Cameras Seemingly Cause More Assaults on Officers

    http://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/consumer-electronics/audiovideo/police-body-cameras-seemingly-cause-officers-to-suffer-more-assaults

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Police Body Cameras Seemingly Cause More Assaults on Officers

      I saw (don't know whether the docs went public) that it reduced tension in NI. Police were more careful about what they said, public slower to antagonise. Worked for policing association, so anon.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Police Body Cameras Seemingly Cause More Assaults on Officers

        "Police were more careful about what they said"

        Which means a lot of them shouldn't be loose on the streets without a muzzle.

        The problem with policing is that it attracts the kind of people who abuse their powers and for some obscure reason "we" refuse to hold them accountable for that abuse, or refuse to punish them as much as when the action is performed by non-police. It doesn't help that "good cops" refuse to eject "bad cops" from their ranks.

        It would be interesting to see what would happen if sentencing guidelines contained an automatic 100% addition for "acting under colour of authority"

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Police Body Cameras Seemingly Cause More Assaults on Officers

      From the article itself:

      "The final possibility that Ariel offers is, however, the one I’d put my money on. He says that the increased frequency of on-officer assaults might be a natural corollary of the decrease in the use of force by officers. With no camera recording the goings-on, officers may be more inclined to use force when they themselves are assaulted. When the cameras are watching them, however, they suppress their normal tendency to provide a “tit-for-tat” response and simply report the incident. Turn the other cheek, but write it up, you might say."

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The lack of regulation specifically regarding the police's use of facial recognition technology on this footage makes it unclear whether the cloud-stored footage may be analysed for matches against existing state databases."

    That's funny, love it... oh what, you mean you are serious and you honestly believe the Police can get one computer system to integrate to another.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They need good accountability laws

    Otherwise these will be used only to clear the cop of wrongdoing, but anytime the cop is suspected of wrongdoing the coverage will be missing due to an "unexplained malfunction" or because the cop "forgot to turn it on", and the police will stonewall any attempts by the press or courts to release any video that can be proven to exist.

    In an ideal world, there would be some sort of citizen accountability board that would have access to all footage, and they would review any footage that the public asked for to insure it doesn't compromise anyone's privacy or endanger informants, etc. but otherwise the default would be to release anything requested. They'd also randomly audit footage versus police reports to insure cops are turning it on when they were supposed to...at least most of the time, anyone can forget sometimes.

    It would be better if it was always on, and just recorded video at a really slow frame rate if the cop is in the police car, or not moving. It is when he starts moving quickly / running that you really want it to be recording, and in an emergency situation that's not going to be top of his list of things to do. It really needs to be motion activated to insure it is always on when you really need it to be.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hosting Provider

    The hosting provider is Skyscape, I used to work for them. For Security / Official Secrets Act reasons I cannot go into technical details other than I wouldn't trust sensitive data such as this anywhere else but them.

    Reference: http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/taser-now-offering-body-worn-video-solution-in-uk-for-purchase-on-g-cloud-and-emscu-frameworks-291023811.html

    1. Dadmin
      Facepalm

      Re: Hosting Provider

      If it's online, it will be collected and provided to the world for examination. Do not fear, citizen. Also, do not boast of some data center's security prowess, it will come back in the form of a zero-day. Nothing is truely secure, NOTHING. Every encryption scheme has a way in, every firewall has an unknown flaw. You want secure data? Save it to a USB drive and stick it in your pocket. That is fairly secure. Online? Not a chance.

  17. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Two Sweepstakes:

    Time until:

    1) Officer gets confused about the on-off switch, and records all his toilet breaks, but nothing else.

    2) Entire database is breached, and contents, including the video from (1) are dumped to YouTube.

    Prizes? Probably rendition and detention at a facility of their choice - if you know that much about it, you probable did it, right?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess on the next big case a prosecution team will have to prove that absolutely no one had unauthorised access to the exhibit when in the "UK cloud". A good defence might end up calling admins to the box.

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