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Politics

Armed police in London to wear head-mounted cameras

Body-worn video cameras are important for transparency and accountability, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

Armed police across London will immediately be equipped with head-mounted cameras, the Met Police announced Monday.

The idea behind the body cameras is to create more accountability and transparency by making sure there is a documented account of any encounters between armed officers and the public. They replace the body cams that were introduced in 2015 but were later declared not fit for purpose.

"Officers who carry an overt firearm as part of their role very much welcome the use of Body Worn Video," Commander Matt Twist said on Twitter. "It provides a documented & accurate account of the threats officers face and the split-second decisions they make."

Around 1,000 cameras will be fitted to the headgear of armed officers, whether they are wearing baseball hats or ballistics helmets. They have already been issued to officers in 30 of London's 32 boroughs, with more set to be deployed ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend.

"Body Worn Video is a huge step forward in bringing our capital's police force into the 21st century and building trust and confidence in the city's policing," London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement. "This technology is helping to drive down complaints against officers across London and will make a real difference to those carrying firearms, increasing accountability and helping to gather better evidence for swifter justice."