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Blog: When Were Body Worn Cameras First Introduced?           Published: 20/09/2022

When Were Body Worn Cameras First Introduced?

Body worn cameras are an increasingly common sight on British streets. These devices have multiple applications, many of which will be of interest to business owners. To understand their relevance, it’s useful to look at the reasons why they were introduced and how use of body worn cameras has changed over time.



When were body worn cameras introduced in the UK?

The first body worn cameras were used in the law enforcement sector as early as 2005. That year, the Metropolitan Police launched trials in the West of the UK, the first being the counties of Devon and Cornwall.

Over the following five years, the distribution of body worn cameras gradually extended to police departments in other areas. For example, a large-scale pilot programme was launched in 2014 in London. The programme involved the distribution of 500 cameras to Metropolitan Police officers in 10 London boroughs.

Why were body worn cameras introduced?

The idea behind the trials was that the footage captured could be used to provide evidence in criminal cases, which in turn could help speed up justice, since there were cases where offenders plead guilty upon finding out that there was video evidence available.

Moreover, footage can also help improve accountability, transparency and trust, since officers and their interventions are recorded. Evidence from other countries, like the United States, seems to confirm that these devices were linked to socially desirable behaviour among police officers.

In addition, reviewing footage can pinpoint areas where more training is needed.

Where are body worn cameras used in 2022?

Nowadays, body worn cams aren’t just limited to law enforcement, but are increasingly used in a wide variety of settings. These include city councils, emergency services, and the private sector. For example, in 2019, some UK pubs and other nightlife venues started using these devices to support security staff in deterring anti-social behaviour.

Body worn cams are also becoming a common sight in the education sector. For instance, in 2020, some secondary schools had some of their teachers wear cameras to de-escalate incidents and deter anti-social behaviour and bullying.


Why are body worn cameras important?

More than 15 years after the first body worn cameras were introduced, we’re in a good position to see their benefits, and not only for police forces.

The main body worn cam purpose is to strengthen security and accountability. In business or retail settings, these devices can reduce the risk of assault to security staff, and also increase customer safety while preventing theft and petty crime.

In educational venues, these cameras can deter anti-social behaviour and help staff and students feel safer while on the premises.

Integrated security benefits

When integrated with other security and communications systems, body worn cams can have a significantly positive impact on operational efficiency. At DTS Solutions we have created a Buyer’s Guide To Body-Worn Cameras, which explains all their benefits in detail. Download your free copy today, or please get in touch with one of our technical sales team directly for more information.