Lights, police cam, action
Dated: 02 May 2007
STATE of the art technology is helping Northumbria police officers in Sunderland gather vital evidence to tackle crime and disorder.
For the past month Neighbourhood police officers and PCSOs on foot patrols in Sunderland North have been wearing the innovative 'Head Cam' on their helmets. This is a small camera mounted on a headset which allow for 400 hours of continuous recording with 12 hours battery life. This means that everything an officer sees, hears and says is recorded.
So far footage captured on the cameras has resulted in six people being arrested for criminal damage and public order offences. Anti-social behaviour captured on the head cams has later been used to show parents of youngsters what their children have been up to.
Officers using the cameras also say they are an effective preventative measure as youngsters modify their behaviour when they realise they are being filmed.
The cameras form part of Chief Constable Mike Craik's pledge of total policing to tackle crime and disorder at all levels, which is supported by Northumbria Police Authority.
Sergeant Craig Gardner, whose Neighbourhood Policing Team is trialling the cameras, said: " They provide a vital tool to collate and gather evidence and demonstrate that crimes and disorder can be recorded and if necessary followed through to prosecution."
The cameras are currently being used by PCs and PCSOs in the Fulwell, St Peters, Southwick, Castle and Redhill areas but it is hoped they will be extended to other parts of the city.
Inspector Alan Patterson, of Sunderland North Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "Although we have a number of CCTV cameras across the north of Sunderland, the head cams have enabled us to provide CCTV coverage right across the area.
" The initiative has been very well received by members of the community, especially in those neighbourhoods not presently covered by a fixed CCTV system. Since officers have started using the cameras there has been a clear increase in public reassurance and satisfaction. Initial results are very encouraging."
Tyneside, Wearside and Northumberland are amongst the safest places in the country to live. Crime fell by 7% last year and has dropped 37% since the early 90s.