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Police Scotland agrees deal for body worn video

By Kyle Ritchie

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Police Scotland has agreed a national contract to implement body worn video for frontline officers and staff across Scotland over the next three years.

Motorola Solutions UK Limited was successful in securing the £13.3 million contract and work has already started to design, build and implement this new capability. The contract includes the purchase of 10,500 Home Office-approved VB400 cameras and supporting back-office systems.

Since taking command in October 2023, Chief Constable Jo Farrell has prioritised body worn video. The equipment can help to de-escalate incidents, improve public trust in policing and reduce complaints, support officer and staff safety, and bring wider benefits to the criminal justice system.

Police Scotland has agreed a national contract to implement body worn video for frontline officers and staff.
Police Scotland has agreed a national contract to implement body worn video for frontline officers and staff.

Deputy Chief Constable Jane Connors said: “The introduction of body worn video will transform policing in Scotland and a national roll-out is a key priority for the Chief Constable.

“Body worn video can significantly enhance public confidence and support officer and public safety by providing effective and transparent evidence of police and public actions.

“Body worn video will also improve the quality of evidence presented in court to deliver faster justice for victims by increasing early guilty pleas and reducing time spent at court for victims, witnesses and police officers.

“We know there is strong public and partner support for body worn video in Scotland and we will continue to explain policing’s use of this important technology, including assurance around data privacy and human rights considerations.

“Appointing a supplier is an important step and we are working at pace with Motorola Solutions to ensure that body worn video is embedded effectively for frontline officers and staff as soon as possible.

“We also want to maximise the benefits of body worn video for the wider criminal justice system to improve efficiencies and experiences for victims and we are working with Motorola and partners to that end.

“This is a complex programme of work, but appointing a supplier is a big step forward and we’ll continue to share details as progress is made.”

A national roll-out of body worn video was a key recommendation of Lady Elish Angiolini’s independent review of police complaints, published in 2020. The national public consultation on body worn video received more than 9000 responses and showed overwhelming support for its introduction, with 81 per cent agreeing that it would increase public confidence in policing.

Chairman of the Scottish Police Authority Martyn Evans said: “This a welcome development in the project to roll out body worn video to frontline officers as soon as possible. This remains a priority for the authority in terms of the safety of officers, effectiveness of investigations and in building trust and confidence.”

Justice Secretary Angela Constance said: “I am pleased that the Scottish Government’s record police funding of £1.55 billion for Police Scotland this year has meant that a national contract has been awarded which will introduce body worn video for officers and staff.

“Body worn video can increase public confidence in policing, protect officers’ safety and support the investigation and prosecution of crime, benefitting victims and witnesses and the general public.

“I welcome the Chief Constable’s assurance that the national roll-out is a key priority.”

Motorola Solutions was awarded the contract on the basis of quality and value for money and a range of technical requirements. The new system is anticipated to work smoothly in areas with lower quality network connections, including rural locations, and the force is also investing in network capability to support this.

Mark Schmidl, senior vice president for international sales at Motorola Solutions, said: “We are proud to support Police Scotland with its nationwide deployment of the VB400, an innovative technology solution developed in Scotland, which will play an important role in helping to make communities safer.”

Every frontline uniformed police officer including Special Constables will be expected to wear a video camera on their uniform while on duty and to activate it when using police powers, whether it be a stop and search, an arrest of a suspect or executing a search warrant.

Police staff in custody suites will also use body worn video when interacting with people in custody.

Officers and custody staff will begin using body worn video once the technical infrastructure is established, operational processes embedded, and training is complete.

Body worn video will be rolled out on a phased basis across the country and more details will be announced at a later date.

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