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Norfolk Police Federation

Norfolk Police Federation Chairman backs calls for officers to share Body-worn Video more often

27 August 2020

“I support the call for body-worn video footage to be released by the police, as this will help show the general public that the very short, clipped videos placed on social media platforms tend to have a fuller story,” Norfolk Police Federation’s Chairman has said.

Chairman Andy Symonds was speaking in response to the news that the Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, John Apter, has written to the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) asking that forces consider publishing body-worn video (BWV) footage to protect officers and show the context behind social media clips.

There has been a rise in the public sharing videos of police interactions on social media, which are then broadcast by the media.

Andy said: “Officers deal with fast-moving and dynamic situations, and on many occasions have to make very quick decisions when confronted with an incident. Officers also have access to information about some individuals that will change their risk assessment and actions that they take.

“The situation has come to a point at which officers need the police service to respond, by utilising the available evidence that shows the full context and actions of all parties at these types of incidents.

“I know the majority of the public support the police, but these short clips that are going viral have the potential to damage the relationship we have with the public, particularly when officers rightly feel they have no comeback, apart from when there is an investigation which can take months or sometimes years to conclude. By this time the damage has long since been done.”

National Chair John Apter has called for a meeting with NPCC Chair Martin Hewitt and College of Policing Executive Mike Cunningham.

John said: “These snippets rarely show the full facts. They are purposefully selective in what they show and can be incredibly damaging for public confidence in policing, as inevitably some people will believe the one-sided story often presented.

“At a time when officers are doing their absolute best in difficult and trying circumstances, this unfounded and unfair criticism often leads to trial by media and is totally unacceptable. They are simply damned if they do and damned if they don’t."