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West Yorks rolls out cop cams, ignoring plod nod probs

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West Yorkshire police are to spend £160,000 equipping their coppers with head-mounted video cameras, despite Dorset police finding that nodding police officers make shoulder-mounting more effective.

The West Yorkshire project follows trials in Leeds, using cameras capable of 12 hours of continuous recording. The money will also cover secure computers to archive the video for use as evidence. Each camera can store 400 hours of video, which needs to be collated and stored.

Superintendent Pete Nicholson, of West Yorkshire Police, reckons they'll make the money back as lags confess their crimes when confronted with video evidence "People have been far more ready to plead guilty once they have seen footage of themselves committing their crime."

The money is coming from the Home Office, which reckons high-tech policing is the way of the future, and that potential perps are also intimidated into behaving: "People have noticed the red recording lights and become aware they are being filmed, putting them off causing problems."

Head mounting might work in West Yorkshire, but when Motorola deployed helmet cams in Dorset (for the Labour Party Conference) they found that the tendency for officers to nod when talking to suspects (or anyone else) made shoulder-mounting a better option. ®

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