The Reykjavík Metropolitan Police has bought 40 new body cameras that were put into use for the first time last weekend. According to Chief Superintendent Ásgeir Þór Ásgeirsson, their purpose is to provide better evidence. Recordings will show police officers’ side of events and clear all doubts about what happens at a crime scene.
The Metropolitan police started using ten body cameras as an experiment in 2016. Early this year, a decision was made to increase the number of cameras and recently, just under 40 cameras were bought. “So the police force has around 50 cameras from last Friday on.” According to Ásgeir, there are now enough cameras for all working police officers to be issued as body camera at the start of their shift, as well as extra cameras for the city centre police over the weekends and other projects that may come up. Their purpose is first and foremost to acquire evidence.
“And, of course, we’ve had a few difficult cases recently where we would have wanted to have a video recording of events to show the side of the police officer in order to eliminate all doubts over what happened in the scene,” Ásgeir told Vísir.
The police have been calling for increased surveillance for a while. Police cars have cameras both on the interior and exterior, there are cameras in police stations, and cells and the body cameras are the last link in the chain, according to Ásgeir.
“I think that in the end, having this footage will save us money but each camera costs more than 100,000 ISK,” says Ásgeir.
Camera usage protocol is being written and will be published in the next few days. “ The protocol will deal with all usage, custody, and archiving of the data. Police officers will not be able to delete the video recordings,” says Ásgeir.
Each camera is assigned to a police officer at the start of their shift and once their shift is over, it will upload the footage into the police’s central database.
“The police officer is always the one who presses record but once the cameras have been introduced, we will want to have as much footage as we can,” says Ásgeir.