This story is from the category Legal
Date posted: 21/03/2007
Beat officers, pounding the streets in the UK, have unleashed a new, AR-inspired weapon on the war on crime.
A great many of them, will now be equipped with helmet-mounted cameras, highly visible, and recording everything they see, day or night. They will record images of violent or anti-social behaviour, which will be admissible in court, returning to the days when a bobby?s word was believed.
The Home Office is testing them nationally, to assess whether they can increase conviction rates for Britain?s already heavily overcrowded prisons. It is looking likely that they will become standard issue kit for every police force.
Each camera weighs about 25oz, or comparable to an AR helmet. Unlike standard AR it does not ?yet- overlay the officer?s vision, merely replicates it exactly. Each camera costs ?1,700 and is made by a Plymouth based firm, Audax.
The cameras can produce high-quality digital video or stills and record sound. They affix to existing police helmets and is worn level with the eyes. A tiny, three-strand wire links the boardmarker-sized camera to a 4in screen worn on the belt on which recorded footage can be played back without interrupting recordings.
The device can record 400 hours of footage but must be recharged every 12 hours. The film can be downloaded on to a computer or on to a DVD for use in court.
Police say the cameras, which can also fit on car visors, are particularly useful for filming disturbances.
As an additional security measure, every recorded frame is watermarked as genuine, and the casing is tamper-proof. Unless the watermarking is in place, the frame cannot be considered genuine, preventing bogus recordings in court.
The deterrent effect alone is significant. The camera?s high visibility, worn at football matches, or large events, serves as a deterrent to trouble before it even starts.
Several police authorities are now considering giving the cameras to other agencies such as leisure centre staff who could capture crimes on film before the police are even called.
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