CCTV to be installed in Detainee transport Vans

Met police detainee transport vans to get CCTV after deaths in custody

Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe announces move to increase transparency after pressure from bereaved families.

Police vans that transport detainees to cells in London are to be fitted with CCTV, Britain’s most senior police officer has announced, following pressure from families bereaved by deaths in custody.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner, said every borough will have at least one van with five video cameras, three microphones and two monitors, in an attempt to increase transparency in his force. The commissioner said the decision was influenced by concerns raised by a number of bereaved families, including relatives of Sean Rigg, who died in 2008 of a heart attack at Brixton police station, London.

Hogan-Howe said the CCTV in vans was part of a wider rollout of new technology to frontline officers, which also includes body-worn cameras.

"This equipment will be able to make a record of some of the very challenging circumstances police officers are asked to deal with on a daily basis and then demonstrate, more effectively, the reality of policing our capital and our officers’ professionalism,” he said.

The decision to roll out the cameras follows two trials in 2012 in Lambeth and Haringey, and 121 of 129 vans have already been fitted, with the remainder of the fleet due to follow suit in the coming months. However, it does not cover police cars, which also transport detainees to custody.

Cameras record outside the vehicle at the front and rear, while there are three cameras inside providing views of the cell area and the officer escort section. A rear display monitor provides images of the cell area, allowing continuous monitoring of the detainee.

Recordings are captured on a digital video recorder fitted inside the vehicle. All data will be automatically overwritten after a minimum of 22 days, but if it is required for a criminal investigation or other policing purpose it will be downloaded from the system and stored.

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