Body Worn Video (BWV) cameras are small, visible devices worn attached to the officers' uniform (usually on the chest). They're used to capture both video and audio evidence when officers are attending all types of incidents. They're issued to all officers who come into contact with the public.
The position of the camera means those watching the footage see the situation from the officer's perspective. The camera acts as an independent witness.
The camera records the footage onto an internal storage device. At the end of the officer's shift the footage is uploaded to a secure location so it can be used as evidence at court or other legal proceedings, or deleted after the minimum retention period (60 days) if it's not needed. The footage may be deleted after 30 days if the officer chooses to manually request deletion of the clip.
When the camera is turned on it will start capturing a rolling 60 second loop of video but no audio. This 60 seconds of video is not saved by the camera unless the officer activates the camera to record. When the camera is activated to record that previous 60 seconds of video is included in the recording.
Officers activate their cameras at the start of an incident or encounter, and under normal circumstances will continue to record until it's no longer 'proportionate or necessary' or another system takes over, eg CCTV within a police station.
The use of BWV is incident specific; unless they're part of a specific operation, officers won't be recording as part of normal patrolling.
When it's recording, flashing red lights will appear in the centre of the camera and officers will make people aware that they are being recorded.
Typically officers use the cameras when they:
provide evidence in the investigation of an offence or suspected offence
provide transparency, eg during a stop and search or when force is used
help officers who know they will need to submit a written report of an encounter or incident, an aide-memoire
Officers will almost always use a camera when they are: