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London Police To Wear Video Cameras In Pilot Project

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the keeping-an-eye-on-things dept.

United Kingdom 152

An anonymous reader writes "The London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is reportedly engaging in a year-long pilot program to determine the benefits of its police force wearing video cameras during interactions with the public. 'The pilot will include a total of 500 cameras distributed across ten city boroughs.' London joins some major U.S. cities in this endeavor to improve the quality of policing through the use of wearable cameras. Privacy advocates argue, however, that police officers having these devices on their persons is not enough: 'the efficacy of police body-mounted cameras as a crime reduction and accountability tool hinges on enforcement of good policies and procedures—including something as basic as preventing officers from being able to deactivate the cameras at their own discretion.'"

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They should be waring GUNS first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46946987)

So we can see them shooting all those black Londoners.

Re:They should be waring GUNS first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947109)

London England not Ontario. There are no Afraican AMericans in London England. Not many in Ontario for that matter but none in ENgland. I meam, who ever heard of an African American Brit?

Lignts out in London was common in the early 40s due to Nazi bombing. Nazi is just a word to give Germans an out. It was the Germans who done it.

Can't turn them off? (5, Insightful)

mrxak (727974) | about 3 months ago | (#46946999)

You can (effectively) turn any camera off. Just "accidentally" point it the wrong way, or "accidentally" cover it up with something.

Re:Can't turn them off? (5, Insightful)

canthusus (463707) | about 3 months ago | (#46947033)

You need to turn them on first...

From BBC article: "The force said officers taking part in the pilot must comply with guidelines about when cameras are to be used, but that they will not be permanently switched on."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-e... [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Can't turn them off? (4, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | about 3 months ago | (#46947419)

Being able to turn it off is fine; running a video camera continuously will eat batteries for the sake of recordings that will mostly be useless. The trick is to make sure that the camera is switched on when it is required, and it the heat of the moment I would imagine it would be very easy to genuinely forget to turn the thing on. Perhaps a very noticeable "recording light", similar to that on Google Glass, so that people interacting with the police will both be aware they are being recorded and be in a position to insist the interaction be recorded if it's currently turned off. The whole "my client alleges that he was abused during the arrest, you *do* have the recording, right?" issue should make sure the police want the cameras on as much as possible.

The real trick will be making sure the camera is switched on for spur of the moment stuff, like where an incident happens when the officer is actually present, so perhaps some kind of automatic activation based on feedback from accelerometers and similar activity detectors is also required. If the sensors detect that the officer has started to run, there is a jolt to the camera, or some other abnormal activity, then start recording until the camera is manually disabled again.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 months ago | (#46947483)

That depends on how easy it is to turn them on.

It doesn't have to be a fiddly little switch, it can be a great big button. Officers who use it every day will soon get used to hitting it whenever they go into action.

You could even automate it - turn them on if there's a loud sound, use an accelerometer to detect when and officer starts running/fighting, etc.

Obviously the "off" switch is a fiddly little button...

Re:Can't turn them off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948031)

Drawing a weapon, blowing their little police whistle, calling for backup on the radio. Lots of things could/should start it recording.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 3 months ago | (#46948041)

You could even automate it - turn them on if there's a loud sound

A recording of the events leading up to the "loud sound" are likely far more important that what happens after.

Re:Can't turn them off? (2)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 3 months ago | (#46947941)

Being able to turn it off is fine;

No, it is not. Part of the role of these camera should be to force the Police to be constantly held account for all their actions while on duty. We had a recent incident here in the news where a UK bunch of UK soldiers shot dead an injured Afghan insurgent, the only reason it was found out though was because they made a mess of turning off one of the squaddies body cams and recorded themselves committing murder. This clearly shows the people wearing these cannot be trusted with and on off switch, that way even if the cover the lens it will still be recording audio which may well be equally important.

This should be an additional reminder to the police that they are our public servants and we do not live in a police state where they are above the law, something they do occasional forget at the moment, particularly when dealing with demonstrations.

I understand that this may involve vast amounts of data storage but the average UK cop wears quite a lot of very expensive kit, adding a 1Tb 2.5in SSD should not be a problem from a cost of bulk perspective. They don't carry guns routinely here in the UK so I reckon a this would be lighter than that and could even be built into the back of the stab vests without a problem.

The real trick will be making sure the camera is switched on for spur of the moment stuff, like where an incident happens when the officer is actually present, so perhaps some kind of automatic activation based on feedback from accelerometers and similar activity detectors is also required. If the sensors detect that the officer has started to run, there is a jolt to the camera, or some other abnormal activity, then start recording until the camera is manually disabled again.

Even assuming that you do not have the ability to store the vast amount of data from an always recording camera, the UK police had a much better solution to the one you suggest that they issued to the city cops on bikes in London years ago: they had an always recording camera that kept a 2 or 3 minute buffer at all times so the officer could press a button and it dumped the previous 2 or 3 minutes footage from the buffer to permanent storage.

It might be worth something like that you suggest as a backup for if the cop is just randomly attacked or something and knocked out cold so he was unable to press the button, but I reckon it would be damn hard to get right so it didn't do this just because they sat down to heavily in the donut shop :)

It's also worth knowing that here the UK all cops have a panic button on their radios that screams "HELP" very quietly to every other cop in the area. They are trained to hit that at the drop of a hat if they think they need assistance so making that also do the recording thing at the same time should not be a problem.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about 3 months ago | (#46948599)

Actually running and recording for this purpose shouldn't eat batteries that quickly. We're not talking requiring HD video here. As for turning them off, no issue there either, however, if the officer does not have video, his statements have no value in and of themselves without other corroborating evidence. The officer has no excuse for not having video evidence of what he says happened. The video should also have a running encrypted audio/video stamp applied in camera, to reduce the ability to edit the video. The video and audio themselves should also be encrypted, for various reasons.

Re:Can't turn them off? (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#46948823)

How much battery do you really need though? Give an iPhone 20x the batteries and I bet you could record an officer's entire shift while also live-streaming the video to headquarters over the cellular network for backup, all in a package lighter than their pistol. Let the officer tag time blocks that might be evidence for a case for long-term retention (preemptively or retroactively), and keep everything else for a few weeks just in case anyone lodges a complaint, in which case the time in question likewise gets archived as evidence, as well as giving the complainant a copy to avoid any "accidental" archive deletions. And should even a single minute of video be missing from the "rolling buffer", well that's pretty clear evidence of tampering, with suspicion naturally falling heavily on the officer in question, though obviously the potential that someone else is trying to cause them problems should not be overlooked. And it should be pretty trivial to have an automated system continuously scan the archives for any evidence of tampering.

Hell, there's no reason we couldn't have the "vidphone" analyze the video in real time and continuously warn the officer should the video feed be disrupted - don't even give them the option of saying "I didn't notice the lens cap was on", or "the camera was broken" - they get alerted within moments of such a problem, and unless they're in a critical situation they better get their ass back to the station to get it replaced.

Re:Can't turn them off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947585)

Privacy advocates argue, however, that police officers having these devices on their persons is not enough

I know there was a /. article a few months ago that saw the NYPD 'accidentally' [wink wink nudge nudge] damaging their video and audio recording equipment. So they should be concerned over police abuse involving the equipment, going

'missing'

'I forgot it

'It mysteriously got damaged'

And for those Union sympathizers in the police force I AM PAYING FOR YOUR SALARY, YOUR HEALTH/ PENSION BENEFITS. Public money is going into this, and the way things are going unless states start forcing Unions involving public money, to pay for their own health and retirement I have a strange feeling we will see city councils allowing private companies to control police departments. It is already getting dangerously close to that in in my state.

Re:Can't turn them off? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 months ago | (#46947661)

Gee, if only there was a way to address that issue.

Like making them pay for repairs out of their wages, fining them for forgetting to wear their camera, etc.

But... I guess there isn't - because Mr. AC says so.

Re:a way to address "issues" (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 3 months ago | (#46948205)

This is a topic highly prone to what AC was meant for in the best sense.

It's rather narrowly presented - all on the officer side. Pretty soon the members of the public will have their own running cameras if for no other reason than just in "today's social media / blogging culture". So then suddenly the defendant has a video but the cop doing something "forgot" to turn his on?!

That's gotta be good for a defense lawyer!

So the next level is both sides have theirs on, and everyone is tracking everyone else, and we become a giant game of Pac-Man. Go Atari.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#46948619)

No, I think the issue is "if only such obvious solutions were actually *implemented*", which is something we'll have to force down their throats, because they certainly aren't going to volunteer to give up their ability to be huge bullies.

Re:Can't turn them off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948175)

p That was the LAPD.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | about 3 months ago | (#46947715)

Especially when they're taking bribes or doing illegal searches....

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

supremebob (574732) | about 3 months ago | (#46948177)

Or beating the daylights out of a dark skinned person with their police baton.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947065)

I'm shocked they can't turn them off. They must be able to turn them off to protect the public's privacy. As we learned in the US, if you don't then you infringe on someone's privacy when you enter their home. A simple welfare check becomes a horrible invasion of privacy.

Speaking of things you can't turn off (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947085)

I got redirected to Beta this morning... it doesn't suck anymore.

Re:Speaking of things you can't turn off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947107)

Except it seems to require a ton of scripts on to see the comments, slashdot and fsdn aren't enough.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#46947239)

no, they can turn them off. They are off most of the time until the officer 'interacts with the public' and then it gets turned on to record what he's doing.

As we see from Glass users, people don't like the idea of recording everything.

However, some don't trust the police and think they should be recording everything - more so we can check the police rather than check the people they record.

Re:Can't turn them off? (5, Interesting)

gnoshi (314933) | about 3 months ago | (#46947273)

One possible solution to the 'recording everything' issue is to encrypt things as they are recorded, and to require a representative from the police and a representative from a civil liberties organisation to provide keys in order to decrypt the video. That way, even constantly-recording video couldn't be used for wholesale surveillance (theoretically).

I imagine the intention is that video would only be viewed if a complaint was made or there was some contention about the events between a member of the public and the police so having a bit of an overhead for viewing the videos wouldn't be unreasonable (I don't think).

Re:Can't turn them off? (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#46947351)

The video will be used as evidence in any case the police bring, hence the concept of switching it on just before going to deal with an incident.

Its not for general recording in case they spot something, or to protect the police in case of complaint - though obviously a compliant is a case in itself, and the video would be used as evidence then too.

So really- the camera will be off when the officer is just walking the beat, or sat in his car, and turned on only when he gets to the scene of an incident.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

coastwalker (307620) | about 3 months ago | (#46947937)

Ideal for entrapping the stupid public who have no idea which sentence they utter will prove beyond all doubt that they have broken the law when later selectively played back.

This is going to make a lot of innocent people guilty, so its not as wonderful as it sounds.

People just have no idea how their words will be used against them. Never, ever, speak to the police if you can avoid it.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#46948009)

both defence and prosecution lawyers will have access to the videos, so don't expect "selectively played back" nonsense.

Re:Can't turn them off? (3, Informative)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#46948847)

No? How about that Occupy woman who was just sentenced to 7 years for elbowing a cop, but was prevented from rewinding or zooming out the video evidence to provide context to the jury?

A camera can't prevent complaint cases... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948273)

... cops can show the footage "we never laid hand on him", the arrested will say "they turned the cameras off in the end, then knocked me down off-record."

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 3 months ago | (#46947633)

require a representative from the police and a representative from a civil liberties organisation to provide keys in order to decrypt the video

You want to have the police depend on a (presumably non-government) civil liberties organisation?

I don't buy it.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 3 months ago | (#46947383)

it should count as evidence against them in abuse cases when they forget to put them on when interacting with the public though. ..oh and the footage should be streamed off device as it records, of course. they could bill that as protecting the officer(which it does, too, in case he gets taken out).

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 3 months ago | (#46947663)

I'd be happy if the guidelines were to record from the point where an officer was expecting to make an arrest, e.g. when investigating a crime, when faced with a situation where a crime is developing, or during an arrest and subsequent journey to the police station.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#46947857)

One thing I just read is that officers are happy to use them - sure you Americans are all concerned about the cops beating on you, but in more civilised countries the police are considering using them to replace their notebooks and reduce the amount of paperwork they have to fill out.

Everything they used to have to write down, back at the station, is now recorded on video so they just have to hand that over to the lawyers who will do the hard work of sorting it out for the jury.
That is a huge win and something that means the police will want to use it.

If I was a copper, I'd be ecstatic about having to write out less documentation and do more policing. (hmm, a bit like, as a developer I am ecstatic when I get to actually code and not write up various solution, test, requirements and design documents!)

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#46948869)

An excellent selling point, and something any honest cop could be expected to embrace. Now the real test is to see how many continue to object...

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 3 months ago | (#46948913)

Arrests are actually a very small percentage of a cops face-time though. I would want *any* interaction with the public to be recorded. If a woman gets stopped for driving while black and gets "enthusiastically frisked" then that should be on camera, and you can be damned sure the officer in question won't do so voluntarily.

In a civilized nation that shouldn't be an issue, but at present we have a problem that needs to be fixed.

Re:Can't turn them off? (2)

JosKarith (757063) | about 3 months ago | (#46947271)

It's safer for everyone to have them always on - more to record what the officer's doing than anything else. After all if the police have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear...

Re:Can't turn them off? (2)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 months ago | (#46947489)

As noted, battery life would be a problem.

Writing to flash memory needs a surprising amount of electricity.

Re:Can't turn them off? (2)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 3 months ago | (#46947993)

As noted, battery life would be a problem.

Writing to flash memory needs a surprising amount of electricity.

Not really. Things like GoPro are designed to be worn during sports and not interfere with the athletes mobility too much and they can still stretch to 3 or 4 hours recording. The average UK cop wears a ton of gear, including stab vests and god knows what else. Including a battery that meant they could easily give up to 6 or 7 hours recording for the addition of a few pounds should not be too bigger problem.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 3 months ago | (#46947771)

It's safer for everyone to have them always on - more to record what the officer's doing than anything else.

But these things won't just be recording what the officers are doing. If they're always on, they'll be recording everything else as well, and contributing to the same surveillance state that things like CCTV and ANPR do. The evidence seems to suggest that using cameras at times where some sort of confrontation or disagreement is likely is beneficial for all concerned, but that doesn't necessarily make running them full time (or keeping the footage they record if you do) a good idea.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 months ago | (#46947541)

I'm shocked they can't turn them off. They must be able to turn them off to protect the public's privacy.

Clue: Not all video is uploaded to Youtube.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 3 months ago | (#46947789)

Clue: Not all video is uploaded to Youtube.

The mere existence of footage that invades someone's privacy is reason enough for concern. Whether it has been leaked (yet) or not is at best a secondary issue.

It's not as if large government departments have a great track record on security and protecting privacy. And it's certainly not as if data originally gathered for one stated purpose has never subsequently been reused for other, very different purposes.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 3 months ago | (#46948021)

The mere existence of footage that invades someone's privacy is reason enough for concern.

Not here in the UK. You are recorded a million times from every angle in public places thanks to all the CCTV, there is no expectation of privacy in a public place what so ever.

In terms of if the police enter a private place like your home the police can probably just declare they are constantly recording at all times before they enter and most of the public would not have a problem with it. The only exception would probably be people like family liaison officers who get to go and tell people they kids just died in a road traffic accident or other victim support officers.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 3 months ago | (#46947611)

I'm shocked they can't turn them off. They must be able to turn them off to protect the public's privacy. As we learned in the US, if you don't then you infringe on someone's privacy when you enter their home. A simple welfare check becomes a horrible invasion of privacy.

I'm not to be honest. We've had a pilot program of the same thing going on here in Canada off and on, usually it dies and someone else tries because they're not happy with the results. Interestingly enough, in Canada you don't have a "right to privacy" in a public place. And in the case of a welfare check, your right to privacy is superseded by the need to ensure you're safe and unharmed. The simple solution would be to delete video in cases like that after a privacy officer has viewed it to ensure that it's within the bounds of the law.

Re:Can't turn them off? (3, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | about 3 months ago | (#46947117)

And, as the police supporting the government during the Miner's Strike in the 1980's, you can simply leave it at home (in that case it was the unique ID they were supposed to wear in case - and of course this never happened - there was any accusation that they were involved in acts of illegality).

Re: Can't turn them off? (2)

ian_billyboy_morris (219947) | about 3 months ago | (#46947141)

To have IDs to wear, they would have to have been actual police instead of the military dressed in ill fitting police uniforms.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 3 months ago | (#46947255)

If the police can't provide the video evidence for the incident, why not make it a crime?

Re:Can't turn them off? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947755)

K. S. Kyosuke ya bigmouth: Yer bein called out (why ya runnin "forrest"?) http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re:Can't turn them off? (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 3 months ago | (#46947463)

The 1980s miners strike was an illegal strike - Arthur Scargill did not hold the required ballot but instead just declared a strike, which was illegal under legislation then active - so the police had every right to "support the government".

Being non-identifiable was a safety issue with regard to the police, because it was shown on many occasions that the striking miners were not adverse to taking action against identified individuals and their families.

Re:Can't turn them off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947563)

Don't you know it's the in thing for the hypocritic masses (also known as the English middle classes) to hate on Thatcher? (even though some of them weren't even born when she was in power - and the ones that were didn't mind her back then, due to the fact she was making them rich at the time)

Why do you insist on using facts to contradict their revisionist history?

Re:Can't turn them off? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947647)

The 1980s miners strike was an illegal strike

Which naturally justifies the police beating up anyone in sight and getting them convicted on made up charges (all this proved much later by suppressed videos, altered 'confessions' analysis etc.).

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | about 3 months ago | (#46948079)

Being non-identifiable was a safety issue with regard to the police, because it was shown on many occasions that the striking miners were not adverse to taking action against identified individuals and their families.

Not really. Most of the police on riot duty during the miners strike were Met officers bussed in from London or, allegedly also members of the UK armed forces so their families has sod all to fear as they were miles away. The local bobbies generally hated them and were kept well out of the way to stop them having to aggressively police their neighbours.

Is there any single incident you can reference where the miners victimised local cops or their families in the manner you describe? If so please do.

There were plenty of incidences of them doing this to scab miners though (miners who crossed the picket lines), but that is not what you describe even though it is not really any better.

Re:Can't turn them off? (2)

Vermonter (2683811) | about 3 months ago | (#46947651)

Include a law that makes any cop's testimony that is not backed up by there personal camera inadmissible in court.

Re:Can't turn them off? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948277)

I disagree. However, there should be instruction to the jury to tell them to weigh the verbal evidence bearing in mind that the officer has not been able to produce the video evidence that one would ordinarily expect in such a situation.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

TheNastyInThePasty (2382648) | about 3 months ago | (#46948883)

Better yet, make the law that without the camera on, the cop loses all privileges normally enjoyed by law enforcement officers. If he injures or kills anyone, he goes to jail for murder or assault like anyone else.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

assertation (1255714) | about 3 months ago | (#46948135)

Authorities can also penalize officers who just happen to turn away from a police infraction being commited.

Re:Can't turn them off? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#46948331)

Yes, just like any law, there are loopholes in it and there will be people who exploit those loopholes, which does not necessarily mean the whole thing is going to be a waste of time.

COPS: Creepy Police Bathroom Videos (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 3 months ago | (#46948491)

If all police are going to wear cameras, I demand public outcry equivilant to Google Glass for any police officer entering a bar, going to the bathroom, or hanging out around playgrounds.

You think I'm joking... but if I take a video on Google Glass, it's for private use. If I take a video as a camera enabled police officer, that embarassing moment is caught on police video, which can be seen by anyone with authorization... and just look at all those "authorized" videos showing up on Cops, Amazing Chases, etc. And the show Cops proves that people will sit for hours watching mundane police activity so long as there are a few drunk/stupid/lying/disfigured/crazy citizen to laugh at.

preventing officers from being able to deactivate (5, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | about 3 months ago | (#46947119)

I think it is unlikely that police would deactivate it without good reason. Where cameras have been used they have resulted in a large reduction in complaints [bbc.co.uk] against police . If they were widely used then switching them off would be seen as suspicious if a complaint was received.

There are some times when an officer might want to switch it off - for example when taking a toilet break or dealing with a vulnerable victim. Ideally switching on should be easy; a "one touch" operation, but switching off harder (hold two buttons for 10 seconds) so it cannot be done (or claimed to have been done) accidentally.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 3 months ago | (#46947173)

Unfortunately, the default for these cameras is to be off. They will only be turned on when something the officer deems worth recording is happening.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#46947371)

not really - "deems worth recording" isn't really the case.

Consider that police don't just walk around in the hope of finding bad things happening. They get sent places from the control centre, which in turn gets reports from the public via 999 calls or similar.

So the officers will be sent to deal with an incident, and will be expected to have switched their cameras on when they arrive - and its pretty easy to see if they didn't as they'll have no recording to match to the case incident.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (1)

MancunianMaskMan (701642) | about 3 months ago | (#46947439)

the cameras a re supposed to have a 30 seconds buffer that always records, so you get the 30 seconds before you press "Start". That, and the fact that the battery is supposed to last a whole shift, makes them a very interesting device. Where can I buy one of those?

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 3 months ago | (#46947531)

Power requirements go down a LOT if you're writing to RAM instead of flash memory and not displaying anything on a video screen.

eg. I've seen CMOS sensors that use less than 0.1W.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 3 months ago | (#46947557)

Power requirements go down a LOT if you're writing to RAM instead of flash memory and not displaying anything on a video screen.

eg. I've seen CMOS sensors that use less than 0.1W.

It would also seem reasonable for the 30 second prebuffer to run at a reduced frame rate to save battery.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#46947871)

From the manufacturer. Just say you want to evaluate one of them :)

This is the device [revealmedia.com] most police are using in the UK.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 3 months ago | (#46947833)

Consider that police don't just walk around in the hope of finding bad things happening. They get sent places from the control centre, which in turn gets reports from the public via 999 calls or similar.

Aside from the fact that I regularly see plenty of uniformed police officers or PCSOs patrolling on foot around the city in which I live (Norwich, UK), try going to a population centres club district and see how heavy the police presence is then - here in Norwich, its not unusual to see 50 or more police on one stretch of road (Prince of Wales Road - the main nightclub district for the city) at the same time on a friday or saturday night. This is a road I can typically walk from one end to the other in less than 15 minutes.

So yes, the police do "just walk around in the hope of finding bad things happening", they just do it when appropriate.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#46947877)

they're still sent to that location as part of a organised system though, not just at random which is what I meant.

and most people would hope they're there more as a deterrent.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 3 months ago | (#46947903)

That's like saying they are sent to Norwich as part of an organised system, rather than randomly patrolling the countryside.

They go where they are expected to be required - in general that's the population centres, and in specific that's where the population congregates at that particular time. Go to a cities shopping centre at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon and you will see a lot more police than you would at 7am on a Monday morning in exactly the same place.

Your original comment comes across much more as if they are sitting around in their police station until they are dispatched, on a per call basis. Which is patently not true.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 3 months ago | (#46948043)

I used to write software for the control centres. One thing I know is that there are many more calls than there are officers to deal with them.

so no, they're not sitting in the coffee house eating doughnuts, they're permanently going from one incident to the next. The only time they're not doing this is when they come back to base to fill out the mass of paperwork between incidents.

That;s not to say that some are sent to areas to "patrol" but these are also organised areas, the police don't stray out of their assigned patrol zones for the duration they're assigned there. But such things are relatively rare, considering the demand placed on police response.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947717)

You don't get out much, do you?

I lived in London for a few years, and watched with fascinated delight as a London traffic warden carefully took pictures of a vehicle and the "No Parking" scenes on the same streeet to make it *look* as if the car were illegally parked, when from a broader angle view showed it as clearly legal. (I took more pictures of the area and of the officer doing it, pretending to be sightseeing, and left my email address on a note next to the traffic warden's ticket after they left.) Sculpting video and audio recordings through careful editing, and refusing to record evidence that contradicts your claims, is an art form. Network News does it as basic editing, FOX News is even worse about it, so it's not a new practice. It's particularly likely for the police to *break* or lose the cameras if they are corrupt, and to turn them off when using bathrooms, eating donuts, or talking about how much their job stinks.

The recordings, *of course*, will not be available to the public except for what the police elect to provide. I've tried to get video from British police when my wife had baggage stolen from a public train station, and the "cameras everywhere" are not actually used for crime control. But show up at a political protest, or worse when I was there, attend the London Central Mosque near the London Zoo, and you can expect your pictures go in a file.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947987)

> dealing with a vulnerable victim

in other words the officer dictaminates who is the victim and who is the offender (or guilty).

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948159)

"If they were widely used then switching them off would be seen as suspicious if a complaint was received."

Doesn't seem to stop all the convenient "missing tapes" problems with cameras in police cars.

Re:preventing officers from being able to deactiva (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948359)

but switching off harder (hold two buttons for 10 seconds) so it cannot be done (or claimed to have been done) accidentally.

There should be no local controls for turning the camera off - they should have to radio in and someone at a remote station can disable the camera. And even then, only for limited periods of time before the camera automatically turns back on again.

Of course, there could be different levels of flexibility here based on an officer's record. For example, if they have been with the force for >10 years with zero complaints, then they could get more options with controlling the camera.

Privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947161)

This is great, after all nobody has a right to privacy in public spaces, right? Alexis Orfanopoulos

A step in the right direction (4, Interesting)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about 3 months ago | (#46947171)


Perhaps an unpopular opinion but I think this is overall a good thing. It will require more discipline from police and help reduce the number of unjustified police action.

As the same time this will serve to catch criminals and is a precursor to automatic face recognition (like they have with car number plates)

Just remember the next time you see police, you're on camera.

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

qbast (1265706) | about 3 months ago | (#46947175)

If you don't see police, you are on camera as well, especially in London. But yes, automatic face recognition is coming so you will be almost fully tracked from the moment you leave your house.

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 3 months ago | (#46947265)

I see the sales of fancy old-style hats surging...

Re:A step in the right direction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947389)

The amount of cameras in London makes so that there is recordings of people from the moment they leave their home.
If you want to be anonymous out will have to start dressing identically and mingle a bit in someones house or out of town.

Re:A step in the right direction (5, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | about 3 months ago | (#46947513)

Not actually true -- I live in London, and it's a five-minute walk from my house until I get on camera (basically, when I get to my local high street). The majority of the cameras you see reported in London (and the UK as a whole) are private security cameras inside shops. And the figures for the vast number of cameras in the UK are bogus [theguardian.com] -- they were based on counting the number of cameras on two busy shopping streets and multiplying by the total number of streets in the UK.

Re:A step in the right direction (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947747)

K. S. Kyosuke ya bigmouth: Yer bein called out (why ya runnin "forrest"?) http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

Re: A step in the right direction (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947277)

If you live in a big city then that may be true, but most towns only have a few cameras covering the high street and it's unlikely you'll find them in villages. So for most of the UK it's not true and only hype/lies. You can keep your guns and we will "settle" for lower crime rates.

Re: A step in the right direction (1)

qbast (1265706) | about 3 months ago | (#46947325)

If you live in a big city then that may be true, but most towns only have a few cameras covering the high street and it's unlikely you'll find them in villages.

That's why I mentioned 'especially in London'. Do you stop reading comment after 10 words?

You can keep your guns and we will "settle" for lower crime rates.

Dude, you are preaching to converted.

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

jareth-0205 (525594) | about 3 months ago | (#46948105)

If you don't see police, you are on camera as well, especially in London. But yes, automatic face recognition is coming so you will be almost fully tracked from the moment you leave your house.

Not that that isn't something to worry about at some point, but for the moment that's fantasy. Almost all these cameras are privately set up and recorded, and requires manually requesting and retrieving video from who owns them. They are also nearly always poor quality monochrome (see any CCTV featured on news reports). All the computing tech in the world won't help the fact that CCTV is neither centrally controlled or accessible, or of decent quality.

Re:A step in the right direction (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | about 3 months ago | (#46947835)

It doesn't go both ways.
I suppose the camera will "inadvertently" be turned off anytime the cop feels like doing something unjustified.

Ya I saw that movie... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947307)

It was called May I Kill U? [imdb.com] . '''offering criminals the choice of arrest or death. Baz sees his campaign as lawful killing. Lowlifes who are too stunned, confused, or drunk to argue when he politely asks, "May I kill you?" are merrily dispatched. All filmed on the helmet-cam and posted on social networks!'''

Turning camera off (4, Interesting)

bradley13 (1118935) | about 3 months ago | (#46947313)

Turning a camera off - this should work the same as things like medical hotlines. For most hotlines, every call is recorded. You, as a patient, can request that the recording be turned off. Your request will be recorded, and then nothing more (at least, that's how it is supposed to work).

It should be the same for police officers: Sure, there are times they may need to turn the camera's off, but the reason should be clear and should itself be recorded. In the absence of a justification, the camera should always run.

Juian Assange CaPtUrEd (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947429)

While attempting to flee Ecuadorian sanctuary.

In London!

Re:Juian Assange CaPtUrEd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947961)

It must be true, an anonymous coward with a dodgy caps-lock key said so.

So London cops are as dirty as LA cops? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#46947515)

They had to put cameras on LA cops because they were acting like street gang thugs, Has the London police lost the professionalism that was world renown and are now acting like thugs as well?

Re:So London cops are as dirty as LA cops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947655)

Not really, just a couple of guys got shot (by police armed response unit) in what seems to be very doubtful circumstances

Re:So London cops are as dirty as LA cops? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948147)

Around here cops will hold you down and then shoot you for making them run. Honestly in the USA the police are very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

I'd rather deal with a biker gang than the police. The biker gang will not draw a gun on you and risk your life for barely any reason. Here the cops draw and are ready to kill you at the slightest thing.

"Accidents" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948569)

And didn't the LA cops have a rash of "accidents" with their video equipment rendering most of it useless. Antennas were snapped off of audio recorders, belt microphones were "lost", etc. Using cameras/microphones as a means of preventing abuse are meaningless without concrete punishments for turning them off/destroying them (which of course no one was).

thit k website bán hàng (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947675)

I think it is unlikely that police would deactivate it without good reason thit k website bán hàng [dep.asia]

Lets be realistic (2)

Mike Ice (3637719) | about 3 months ago | (#46947703)

What if your boss told you "I want you to wear a camera that records EVERY SECOND while you are on the clock". Would you willingly accept? In the Police Dept. I do work for we are testing body cams but only with the ability to turn them off. Why? Due to Freedom of Information that video is available to the public upon request. Think of all the Youtube moments that would give rise to, from bathrooms to discussions about possible suspects. "Always on" cameras will never be the standard for body cams.

Re:Lets be realistic (1)

Starvingboy (964130) | about 3 months ago | (#46947947)

What if your boss told you "I want you to wear a camera that records EVERY SECOND while you are on the clock". Would you willingly accept?

Ever work a call center job? Everything is recorded. You get used to it, and learn to play it to your advantage. Welcome to the real world.

Re:Lets be realistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948001)

Neither my boss nor I can send people to jail or beat the fuck out of people and know nothing will come out of it.

We allready have it in Georgia (country) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46947797)

Here is Georgian police. .
http://www.interpressnews.ge/photo/0000000marti13/samxre-video-kamera-patrulis.jpg

Outbreak (2)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 3 months ago | (#46947859)

"The London Met Police are reporting a sudden outbreak of vandals with tiny cans of spray paint, waggishly obscuring the copper cams at the worst possible moment."

Forget drones . (1)

hebertrich (472331) | about 3 months ago | (#46947999)

Now they have thousands of mobile cameras aimed at the civilians recording everything in sight .. nice job .. Yaaaay
Orwell was an optimist .. we're way past his worst nightmare.

Let them wear cams. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948187)

Photography and filming in public are not crimes, "no expectation of privacy in public" and all that. So there should be no reason to oppose this (as long as they're used in public only of course). If nothing else, it makes the case for the public being allowed to film the police stronger. I'm also very naive.

Bathroom (1)

jhumkey (711391) | about 3 months ago | (#46948503)

So . . . police won't be able to use the Restroom for an entire shift . . . since they can't turn off the camera and, while they may be willing, can't require others in the Restroom to permit filming them ???

Seems like we still have a few loopholes to work through.

Restrooms ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46948663)

So you walk into the restroom wearing the mandatory always-on camera ... there's usually mirrors for total room view ...

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