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Date Responded 24 June 2020

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act')

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions.

You asked:

What is the procedure for police constables wearing body worn video footage when attending to a report if crime.

Do BWV footage have to be turned on when a constable arrests someone and explains the necessity of their arrest?

Please can you supply me with the guidelines on the use of BWV footage.

In Response:

As the information you have requested is accessible by other means I have not provided you with a copy of the information and will rely on Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You should therefore consider this a refusal for your request.

I have provided an explanation to this exemption below.

Section 21 (1) - Information accessible by other means

Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant is exempt information.

Northumbria Police follows the College of Policing Authorised Professional Practice and as this information is already available the above exemption is applicable.

https://www.college.police.uk/Pages/Home.aspx

Northumbria Police Local Policy is as follows:-

The Recording Process

The camera should be switched on when footage might support ‘professional observation’ or would corroborate what would be written in a police issue pocket book (PNB), whether or not the product recorded is ultimately required for use in evidence.

The decision to record or not to record any incident remains at all times with the trained user. However users must be mindful that failing to record an incident which would have been of evidential value may require an explanation in court or any subsequent internal investigations/audits.

Force Policy dictates that BWV trained officers MUST activate their device when attending all domestic related incidents including their approach to the scene.

There are a few instances where recording should not be undertaken.

It is not necessary for the BWV device to remain attached to the uniform to record; it can be removed and used to more accurately record an incident or specific item/area. Users should however assess and consider the risks of detaching the device prior to doing so.

Unless specific circumstances dictate otherwise, recording must continue uninterrupted from the commencement of recording until the conclusion of the incident or resumption of general patrolling. BWV users must be satisfied that an incident has reached its conclusion prior to finalising any recordings.

Under normal circumstances, officers should not use BWV as an intelligence-gathering tool and should delete any BWV footage that has no evidential value. Extremely strong justification is likely to be needed to retain such footage, especially where it only shows lawful conduct.

Recording in sensitive areas/locations/circumstances

Users are to be cognisant when using BWV cameras in sensitive areas, i.e. hospitals, police stations and refuges, etc. Users should adopt a common sense approach and take particular care not to record anything which may:

• Risk the security or safety of any person, premise or property
• Negatively affect the on-going care or treatment of any person
• Unnecessarily inflame/provoke a situation

The filming in domestic circumstances could be an issue with some faiths. An example may be where the female may not have a face covering within the home. Officers should be aware of this fact and be sensitive to the wishes of those involved in these cases.

 

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