It is a scenario that frequently frustrates police – there is an accusation of assault, and often a fairly good body of supporting evidence, but the victim no longer supports a prosecution and will not attend the trial to give their evidence. In many cases this will result in an unsuccessful prosecution or charges being dropped.
Hi-tech Equipment Captures Essential Evidence
However, a pilot project taken on by constabulary is seeing frontline police being equipped with a Body Worn Camera each, meant that this very scenario was avoided.
Martin Funnell was charged with assault on his girlfriend and assault on the police officer who had responded to the victim’s calls and attended the scene. The officer’s Body Worn Camera had recorded the visibly upset victim letting the officer into their home and the defendant becoming agitated and aggressive towards the police officer, who told him that he was going to be arrested.
Preventative and an Overt Evidence Collection
Camera footage from body worn cameras is becoming increasingly valuable to police. But it is also a piece of equipment prized by security companies and businesses that have a need to protect their premises.
The best type of cameras available on the market these days have extremely high-quality visual and audio. The equipment available from suppliers is water-resistant and can record up to eight hours worth of footage.
The benefits of the body worn video camera to police are numerous. Not only does the equipment record high-quality footage that can be used evidentially, it saves the officers time. This is because the quality of the evidence is indisputable, resulting in more early guilty pleas and less need for police officers to investigate vexatious complaints about police officers’ actions.
A Successful Trial
As is clear from Martin Funnell’s case, the camera can ensure that a prosecution can proceed successfully even where the victim refuses to cooperate in the process. This is often a big problem in domestic abuse incidents. The evidence recorded at the scene can have a big impact on a court.
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For Funnell, the use of the camera footage in the trial resulted in an early guilty plea to all charges and a sentence to include 40 hours of unpaid work and compensation for the victims of his crime.