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Calum is 'Caught on Camera' - explaining why body-worn video is essential

Monday, 16 October 2017

Vice-Chair Calum Macleod features on tonight's episode of Caught on Camera (made by Channel 5) and explains why body-worn video is so important to help protect frontline officers.

The Caught on Camera series looks at how surveillance cameras can help fight crime and past episodes have attracted more than a million viewers.  I was keen to take part because it offers an opportunity for the Federation to talk about Protect the Protectors, our campaign to highlight the unacceptably high number of assaults against police officers – and how body-worn video (BWV) can help provide the evidence to secure convictions.  

Working with MPs and stakeholder organisations, the campaign is working towards a change in the law to make it an aggravated offence to assault an emergency services worker, and therefore provide a stronger deterrent, punishable with a longer spell behind bars.  Another essential strand of the campaign is our call for officers to be given the right tools for the job; if we are asking brave men and women to put themselves in harm’s way, day in and day out, it is fair and sensible that they should be equipped with all the necessary protective equipment, including Taser, video cameras and spit and bite guards (as well as enjoying the full backing of society and the courts).

As I told the programme, the Federation is hugely supportive of BWV – first and foremost, it has the potential to protect our members by deterring physical attacks and also preventing bogus and malicious allegations from gaining traction. It has also been proven to result in higher sentences when officers are attacked, so we welcome the wider roll-out of this particular piece of kit.

An officer was attacked by a man who repeatedly slammed her head against the floor. She was unconscious, but her camera told the tale. However, unfortunately for a PC from West Yorkshire, after suffering a similar attack which shattered his collar bone, the attacker was acquitted by a court BUT, if the officer had have been wearing BWV it would have proved invaluable and no doubt secured a conviction. 

During the making of Caught on Camera I was asked to comment on shocking footage captured by BWV. It showed officers being attacked on duty, including one horrific example from Sussex Police involving a man armed with a hammer. In other footage an officer was stabbed in the leg with a sword while trying to apprehend a suspect. Our latest demand, capacity and welfare survey suggests an officer is assaulted every four minutes. This is unacceptable. We all should have the right to do our jobs without fear of being attacked. I hope that the programme will give the public a greater appreciation of the dangers police officers face every day in keeping us safe.

This episode of Caught on Camera will air on Channel 5's sister channel Spike tonight, Monday 16 October, at 9pm.

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