Police officers kitted out for the OP26 conference.
By Bill Heaney
Police Scotland has completed the roll-out of Body Worn Video (BWV) cameras to armed officers ahead of the COP26 climate conference.
The successful implementation of the new equipment follows extensive public engagement, earlier this year, which showed widespread support for armed police officers to be equipped with BWV.
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone announced in January 2021 that it was of critical operational importance that the technology be supplied to armed officers ahead of COP26 which begins in Glasgow on 31 October.
The camera, supplied by Motorola Solutions, can be mounted on either an officer’s body armour or hat and captures both live video and audio during an incident.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said: “Extensive public engagement highlighted just how important this technology is in providing transparency and maintaining high levels of public trust and confidence.
“The Chief Constable has previously set out the operational imperative of delivering BWV to officers, providing increased safety to both the public and themselves as they carry out their daily duties to keep people safe across Scotland.
“The introduction of BWV brings Police Scotland in line with armed officers across the United Kingdom and ensures best practice and evidence gathering, as well as increased transparency and accountability at incidents.”
Martyn Evans, Chair of the Scottish Police Authority, said: “The Authority is committed to improving access to appropriate and effective technology within Police Scotland. The use of BWV is common across UK policing and there is very good evidence of the benefits associated with its use including reduced public harm and increased efficiency in the criminal justice system.
“The decision to roll out BWV to Police Scotland’s armed officers during COP26 has been subject to detailed oversight and engagement with the public and this has been overwhelmingly supportive. The Authority looks forward to considering data, public views and evidence of the impact of these officers wearing BWV in due course.”
David Threadgold, Scottish Police Federation, said: “We welcome the rollout of body worn video for armed police officers in Scotland.
“The opportunity to provide real time footage of incidents is a significant tool in a police officer’s armoury and will have a significant impact in enhancing the service provided to the public in Scotland.”
Fergus Mayne, Country Manager, UK & Ireland at Motorola Solutions said: “Video security continues to play a powerful role in supporting public safety and security.
Our end-to-end video security solutions, including our VB400 body-worn cameras developed locally in Scotland, will provide transparency to police operations and enhance awareness and safety for officers, citizens and visitors alike.”
For comprehensive guidance on Police Scotland’s use of BWV, please visit the Police Scotland website.
Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon, pictured right, has urged protesters targeting the COP26 climate conference not to disrupt the daily lives of Glasgow residents.
Groups like Extinction Rebellion have said they are planning high-impact actions to pile pressure on the world leaders gathering for the talks.
Opposition MSPs have called for police to take a “zero tolerance” approach.
The first minister said officers would facilitate “appropriate and peaceful protest” during the two-week event.
However, she called on activists to recognise that Glasgow residents were already putting up with disruption due to the conference, asking them not to add to it.