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Hampshire Police Federation

"Absolutely necessary" to release officers body-worn video if we are to show true picture of incidents

15 September 2021

Releasing officers’ body-worn footage to show the true picture of incidents is “absolutely necessary”, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

Speaking at the Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales’ annual conference, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said that in principle she wanted body-worn footage to be released to the public and media, so that “misunderstandings or erroneous judgements about how my officers have done their work [are] dispelled as soon as possible”.

Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoë Wakefield said: “It's really encouraging to see the Commissioner backing the release of this footage. Hopefully other Chief Constables will follow suit.

“It is absolutely necessary when what has been portrayed in the media is factually incorrect. We should be able to show the actual footage to redress the balance, and prevent the officers involved being criticised, and in some cases abused, on social media.”

When Dame Cressida was questioned at the conference about whether she supported officers releasing body-worn video, she replied: “In principle I absolutely do, and I think for example during Extinction Rebellion protests, the Met were proactive about communications strategy, using imagery as much as words and not relying on traditional media to get the message across.

“I also in principle want misunderstandings or erroneous judgements about how my officers have done their work to be dispelled as soon as possible. I don’t have any hesitation.

"We are the police. We have to stick to the facts. We have to respect investigation and due process. And we must not give biased or clipped footage that tells only part of the story – as often the story is very long and complex. We need to look at the whole.”

But she said it was important that the footage must be “in good taste”, adding: “In America and other places you see law enforcement putting out images that are unacceptable and would offend both the public and staff.”

Dame Cressida criticised those in the media who jumped to conclusions about officers, when watching video clips out of context. “Erroneous criticism of officers increases tension and reduces legitimacy. Rushing to judgement is dangerous,” she said.