The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has a very clear purpose – “Keeping People Safe”. The Force’s vision to build a safe, confident and peaceful Northern Ireland, is central to its policing strategy and has been at the forefront of many campaigns and initiatives. Covering eleven policing districts with over six thousand police officers, the PSNI records on video approximately 173,000 incidents each year. In order to deliver effective policing, and to achieve set goals of protecting people, communities and the vulnerable; preventing crime and harm and detecting and investigating offenders, the PSNI has chosen to invest in emergent technology which will augment the efficiency and ability to reduce crime.
“This technology has proven to be valuable in many policing situations. The evidential benefits it can bring in assisting the prosecution of cases and particularly in cases of domestic abuse is well documented”. Anne Connolly, Belfast Policing District Board Chair
The Northern Ireland Policing Plan, as specified by the Policing Board, sets out a strategy to provide projects and support to improve public confidence in the Police, utilising enabling technologies. In 2011, having consulted on UK and international roll-outs of Body Worn Cameras (BWC), and the viability of such projects, it was agreed that a trail of Body Worn Cameras would be conducted by the PSNI. Initially rolled out at a local level, progressing to District level, the PSNI trialled a selection of wearable camera devices with the aim of assessing the impact on policing and the public. Research had shown that the use of BWCs;
- Created self-awareness during police interactions
- Caused individuals to modify their behaviour in response to being recorded
- Improved the quality of evidence gathered, and;
- Had the potential to enable the wider Justice sector to deliver faster, fairer outcomes.
Such outcomes were hoped to be achieved through the PSNI trial, with emphasis on adequate ruggedness of the devices, battery performance, ease of use and minimum demands on workload overhead.
In 2016, having undergone significant research and trialling of Body Worn Technology within the Force, a decision was made to begin a year-long deployment of Edesix Body Worn Cameras. The VB-300 has been the camera of choice for PSNI officers, with its shift-long battery life, HD recording, sophisticated management system, and suite of accessories such as helmet-mounted cameras.
These pooled-use cameras offer a fully-encrypted solution, meaning that footage captured by officers is secure, impenetrable, traceable and of evidential quality. The Edesix VideoManager platform offers role-based user access, bespoke deletion policies, the ability to add advanced security features such as video and audio redaction, and centrally managed software. The Edesix solution impacts minimally on officer’s workload overhead, with cameras allocated simply using RFID touch-assign, and all data automatically logged and managed through the VideoManager system. Officers can control when their VB-300 camera is activated with a simple push of a button, initiating instant audio and video recording. Footage recorded on the device cannot be edited or deleted by the officer and will be automatically deleted after 31 days should it not be required as evidence.
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