DIGITAL body cameras, which capture high-quality footage of incidents, are being used by Melton police officers in the fight against crime.
The cameras were first used by 999 response officers in Leicester last year on an experimental basis and due to their success are now being rolled out across the rest of the county’s police force.
The cameras, which have in-built night vision, have already proved to be invaluable in a number of situations faced by the police, including dealing with domestic violence incidents and identifying offenders in large groups.
Police wear the cameras on the front of their stab vests and after attending an incident download the footage captured onto a computer where if needs be it can be transferred onto a DVD to be presented as evidence in court.
The technology has an advantage over pole-mounted CCTV cameras as it allows officers to film an incident at street level, as they see it, the force also believes the cameras will deter troublemakers from squaring up to officers or making false allegations against them.
Jodie White, Melton town centre beat officer, has been using the camera for about two weeks.
She said: “It has already made a huge difference to my job and has had a really positive effect, I can’t imagine that there is any downside to having such an invaluable piece of kit like this on hand.
“It’s ideal when approaching a large group because often they will starburst off in different directions and although you may have caught the main offenders by having the opportunity to look back through the footage you can also identify some of the other offenders who would have otherwise got away with a crime.
“It’s also played a part in helping document domestic violence incidents because from the minute you walk through the door your able to film everything and can get a lot more detail than you would from a written statement, such as being able to pick up on body language and tone of voice, which you wouldn’t be able to explain as well in writing.”
Jodie explained that the camera had also made a difference when dealing with drunken disorderly behaviour in the town centre during the evenings.
She said: “The camera has definitely had an impact, once people realise they are being filmed they are much quicker to disperse in a situation and tend to stop what their doing.”
The cameras will be made available to every operational officer in the force.