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Helmet-cams help police crack down on crime

Lights, minicam, misbehavior! London police say they'll use digital images in legal proceedings against offenders.

A London police unit is tackling antisocial behavior using small helmet-mounted digital cameras.

Officers in Haringey will use the cameras to gather digital images that can then be used as evidence at court proceedings.

The cameras will first be used as part of the five-day Operation Aventail, which will be carried out by the borough's Safer Neigbourhood unit and focus on antisocial behavior.

"Should anyone commit any offenses the officers will instantly have the evidence to hand to help them apply for an ASBO (antisocial behavior order) or pursue criminal charges," Detective Superintendent Richard Wood, head of the operation, said in a statement.

The cameras are similar in size to an AA battery, and the images are stored on a special utility belt. The kit costs around $3,402 (1,800 pounds) per officer and has been funded by Haringey Council's Safer Communities Partnership.

Wood added that if the cameras prove successful they will be used by other Haringey units and could assist in police raids or police presence at soccer matches.

The unit is using several other tactics as part of Operation Aventail. These include airport-style weapon searches, automated license-plate recognition technology (to identify stolen vehicles), targeting of crime hot spots, and increased visibility for patrols.

Tim Ferguson of Silicon.com reported from London.