Firearms officers to get cameras after initial problems overcome

Date:3rd January 2017. Picture James Hardisty. Police incident on the Ainley Top slip road Huddersfield, West Yorkshire off the M62 junction 24 where one man has been shot dead by police, pictured West Yorkshire Police forensic teams examining the cars at the scene.
Date:3rd January 2017. Picture James Hardisty. Police incident on the Ainley Top slip road Huddersfield, West Yorkshire off the M62 junction 24 where one man has been shot dead by police, pictured West Yorkshire Police forensic teams examining the cars at the scene.

Firearms teams employed by West Yorkshire Police Force are being fitted with body-worn cameras as part of a scheme to hand out the devices to all its frontline officers.

It emerged in January that the officers involved in the fatal shooting of a Huddersfield man, Yasar Yaqqub, on the M62 at Ainley Top were not fitted with body-worn cameras.

Yassar Yaqub

Yassar Yaqub

The force, which is issuing the body-worn video cameras (BWV) to 2,000 of its officers, said it was not possible for firearms teams to wear them because the position weapons would hinder recording.

But after successful tests, firearms officers have now been included in the roll-out, meaning their actions on duty will be filmed in a bid to improve transparency and conviction rates.

According to a report discussed by senior West Yorkshire officers, the cameras purchased from Reveal Media have been handed out since last May, starting in Bradford and Calderdale. Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield got their cameras by March this year.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the force was looking for a solution that can be mounted on either head or chest of firearms officers and was inviting companies to come in and demonstrate products that could do the job.

The latest report said: “WYP pursued a solution for firearms with regional partners including testing the capability of the Reveal cameras during training.
“The project team, working with the firearms department concluded that Reveal cameras performed to an acceptable standard and their immediate deployment was agreed pending some technical and policy changes.”

The introduction of the cameras was suspended last year after a battery issue caused many of them to overheat, leading to a delay of several months.

According to the report, use of the devices has increased month-on-month.

It said: “As WYP were one of the first forces to deploy BWV to all operational officers, national guidance and organisation learning from other forces was difficult to locate. 

“As a result, initial advice relied heavily on the need for proportionality and the officers’ justification of when to film.”