HAMPSHIRE Police Federation is backing calls for footage from officers’ body-worn video to be made more widely available.
A national Federation campaign to put officers’ side of the story across and combat some of the misleading, often heavily edited social media footage of incidents has led to several guidelines for forces being able to release the footage.
The PFEW wants forces to make officers BWV footage available to head off what can be unfair criticism of officers and make viewers aware of the whole story.
The campaign has now led to a debate in the House of Lords.
“We’re right behind this and completely agree that footage, wherever possible, should be released,” Hampshire Police Federation Chair Zoe Wakefield said.
“It’s very disappointing when you see someone has posted their footage of an incident, and we don’t have the right to reply or show the video taken from body-worn cameras.
“It’s tough on the officers at the heart of those incidents; they can’t come back with anything to justify their actions.”
Zoe also thinks releasing the footage would help to show the brilliant job officers do every day and the dangers they face, including the assaults and verbal abuse they often have to put up with.
“It would help the public to see what we do day in day out,” she said.
“Most people don’t have much interaction with the police; it might just be when they become a victim of crime or get pulled over for speeding.
“The knowledge and understanding of what we do isn’t often there. If all they see of the police are these heavily edited videos, then they are not seeing the whole picture.
“Those who do have interactions with us are normally very positive.”
Some Chiefs have expressed concerns about releasing the footage citing data protection and worries that the videos could be pre-judicial.
“Not every video can be released, and we understand that,” Zoe added. “But we think the guidelines from the PFEW will help.”