police-stop-and-search - body cameras

A former South Cheshire police officer who worked in the force’s complaints department believes the roll-out of body-worn cameras for Cheshire’s officers is money well spent.

The office of David Keane, Cheshire’s Police and Crime commissioner, has revealed that it will cost £787,000 to allow all front-line officers to have access to the equipment.

A budget of £400,000 had previously been approved, before Mr Keane announced last week that the extra £387,000 would be used for officers to access a pool of cameras while on shift.

Cllr Sam Naylor, Labour Cheshire West and Chester Council member for Winnington and Castle, worked as a detective inspector in Crewe for seven years, and spent three years with Cheshire Police’s complaints and disciplinary department in the 1990s.

He has welcomed the roll-out for all front line officers – and believes it would have made his job easier when resolving police complaints.

“It’s all about having the evidence to substantiate or negate allegations made against the police,” he said.

“The evidence from other forces that have been trialling this technology suggests that they have found it to be of great benefit. It has a positive impact on the public knowing that officers have got it, and they will think twice about the way they behave when they are on camera.

“You would be amazed how many persistent or bogus complaints are made against the police.

“OK it’s an initially-expensive outlay, but not in terms of what could saved from officers not having to waste time investigating complaints or not having to go through the complaints process, if you have that video evidence from the start.”

The cameras were rolled-out for firearms officers last year, but now all local police units, detectives and PCSOs in Cheshire who have completed training will be able to access the devices.

Cllr Steven Edgar, Conservative Cheshire East Council member for Shavington, is a member of Cheshire’s police and crime panel.

He agrees with Cllr Naylor that the cameras represent money well spent – giving both officers and members of the public more security.

“If you don’t have enough evidence and you end up in court then it’s one person’s word against another,” he said.

“If an officer is in the wrong then the public can see it. If it’s the other way round then the evidence will exist.

“Yes it is an initial cost that will be incurred, but there will be savings made elsewhere.”

Footage from the cameras will be automatically stored on Cheshire Police’s central records.

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