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London police to be equipped with 20,000 body cameras

Police in London are about to be equipped with 20,000 cameras on their bodies, together with tablet computers, improved computer systems and 999 text messages.

No, of course a single police officer won’t be wearing all 20,000 of them.

London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, announced the plans following a successful testing phase, in which 1,000 officers were equipped with chest and head-mounted cameras.

Johnson claimed that the cameras have shown their potential to reduce complaints and increase the number of early guilty pleas, helping to speed up the justice process.

"This is exciting technology that will build trust, help the police do their jobs, and allow the public to hold officers more accountable," he said.

"Our plans for the rollout of body-worn video will make the technology available to more officers in a single city than anywhere else in the world, and is a giant step towards a truly 21st century police force for London."

"For too long our equipment has lagged behind the technology almost everyone has in their pockets to capture events as they unfold.

"Soon, more of our officers will be able to make a record of the very challenging circumstances they are asked to deal with on a daily basis and then demonstrate, more effectively, the reality of policing our capital.

"It will also improve public scrutiny of how we carry out our role. That is a vital part of being an accountable police officer. It is also an essential tool in gathering evidence of offences."

The project, part of a technology strategy overhaul, is worth £200 million.