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West Midlands Police first to live stream body camera footage

West Midlands Police has become the first in the country to switch on body camera live streaming technology – allowing officers to remotely view another officer’s body cam.

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The tech has been tested across different scenarios, such as football matches and protests

The new upgraded cameras mean that when they’re in record mode, anyone with a valid operational reason can see that footage in real time, giving officers greater protection and extra support.

Police say the tech has been tested across different scenarios, such as football matches and protests, with very positive feedback.

Officers say the benefits from the function includes being able to get quicker instruction from supervisors, and commanding officers are able to deploy more resources faster if they can see a situation warrants it.

Last year, shocking bodycam footage was released showing the moment a pair of brothers pulled knives on two police officers and attacked them in front of horrified shoppers at New Square Shopping Centre in West Bromwich.

This new technology may allow other officers to see the escalation of such an incident immediately and act accordingly.

Chief Superintendent Ian Green said: "This latest technology has many advantages, not least in increasing officer safety.

"It gives us a real time view of what officers are facing so we can deploy assistance where needed, or advise officers at scenes on preserving evidence or dealing with someone in mental health crisis.

"We are able to map every officer with a camera and see which ones are recording, but there are strict rules that we will adhere to when choosing to live stream.

"The system is completely auditable and will be monitored for any unauthorised use.

"We’ve been consulting with our communities and partners so they are fully aware of us now having the ability to live stream in public areas.

"We have carried out extensive consultation and over 90 per cent of people told us they strongly agreed with us being able to use this new function."

The new cameras will be used by public-facing officers, but police say they will not be seen as a replacement for attending scenes and at this stage will not be used for any independent scrutiny around use of force or stop and search.