A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

Table of Contents

This is our comprehensive guide to all things body cameras, body cams and body worn video in the UK. We cover a very wide range of topics ranging from the history of body cameras in the UK to the various specifications, body camera companies, rules surrounding body worn video and more.

Table of Contents

What are Body Cameras?

Body cameras, also known as body-worn cameras, bodycams, body cams, body worn CCTV, bwv cameras or BWCs, are small, portable recording devices that are typically worn on the uniforms of law enforcement officers, security personnel, or other professionals. These cameras are designed to capture audio and video footage of incidents, interactions, and events from the wearer’s perspective. The primary purpose of body worn cameras is to provide an unbiased and objective record of encounters between users and other individuals or other situations where the camera wearer is involved.

While there are a wide range of body cameras with a variety of different features and USPs, there are some common features amongst most body cameras:

Video Recording: Body cameras can capture high-definition video footage of the surrounding environment and the interactions of the camera wearer with others.

Audio Recording: These cameras also record audio, capturing the conversations and sounds from the scene.

Mobility: Body cameras are lightweight and unobtrusive, allowing officers to move freely while recording.

Storage: The recorded footage is usually stored either internally within the camera or externally on a secure storage device.

Activation: Body cameras can be manually activated by the user, using buttons on the front or side of the device, or automatically triggered in response to certain events, such as when a police officer draws their firearm or activates their emergency lights.

Body Mounted: Body cameras are generally designed to be mounted of the users’ body and come with a range of clips or attachments that facilitate this. This can be directly to the body, like a harness, or on to uniform / vest via crocodile clips or KlickFast studs.

What is the Purpose of Body Worn Cameras?

The purpose of a body-worn camera (BWC) is to provide an objective and unbiased record of interactions, incidents, and events from the wearer’s perspective. As body cameras are typically used by law enforcement officers, security personnel, and other professionals, the main objectives and purposes of body-worn cameras include:

Transparency and Accountability: Body cameras aim to increase transparency in law enforcement and other professions by capturing video and audio footage of incidents. This footage can be reviewed later to ensure that the actions of the camera wearer comply with established protocols and guidelines. It holds individuals accountable for their actions and behaviour during interactions with the public.

Evidence Collection: Body cameras serve as a valuable tool for gathering evidence in various situations, such as during arrests, traffic stops, and crime scenes. The recorded footage can be used in investigations, court proceedings, and as an aid in reconstructing events accurately. Body cameras are also used by the public for gathering evidence for court. The importance of body cameras in public evidence gathering has increased markedly in recent years.

Enhancing Officer Performance: Body cameras can be used as a training tool to evaluate and improve an officer’s performance during critical incidents. By reviewing recorded footage, officers can identify areas for improvement and enhance their skills and decision-making abilities. Body camera training can vary widely between organisations and public sector.

De-escalation and Conflict Resolution: The presence of body cameras can influence both officers and the public to act more responsibly and professionally, potentially leading to de-escalation and reduced conflict in tense situations.

Protection against False Allegations: Body cameras provide a factual account of events, which can protect officers from false allegations of misconduct or abuse and help in dismissing baseless complaints. The importance of body cameras in spurious allegations cases cannot be understated.

Building Public Trust: The use of body-worn cameras can help build public trust and confidence in law enforcement and other professions that use them. When people know their interactions are being recorded, they may feel more assured that their rights will be respected and that any misconduct will be appropriately addressed.

Reviewing and Improving Policies: The data collected from body cameras can be used to analyse trends, evaluate the effectiveness of current policies, and implement changes that lead to better outcomes in various situations.

However, it’s important to note that while body-worn cameras can serve as valuable tools, they are not a comprehensive solution to all the challenges faced by law enforcement and other professions. Issues related to privacy, data storage, activation policies, and the potential impact on officer behavior require careful consideration and appropriate regulations to ensure responsible use and protect the rights of all individuals involved.

A Brief History of Body Cameras in the UK

The UK was one of the leading pioneers in the implementation of body worn video cameras at the turn of the century. Ahead of other major economic powers, the UK was the first to run trial programs and initiate mass rollouts, ahead of even the USA.

2005 – Body-worn cameras received significant media coverage when they were first tested in the United Kingdom in 2005 by officers in Wolverhampton and Birmingham. The initial test was conducted on a small scale by Devon and Cornwall Police.

Plymouth Study (2007):

2006 – significant deployments of body cameras were undertaken by the Police Standards Unit (PSU) as part of the Domestic Violence Enforcement Campaign (DVEC). The head cameras equipped by the basic command units recorded everything that happened during incidents from the time of arrival, proving valuable in gathering high-quality evidence to support prosecutions, especially in cases where victims were reluctant to testify.

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Early 2007 – The Home Office stated that body-worn cameras had the potential to enhance police performance at the scene of various incidents and improve the quality of evidence provided by police officers. However, the then-available technology had limitations, prompting the recommendation that police forces wait for successful trials before investing in cameras.

July 2007 – the Home Office began encouraging the use of body-worn cameras and published guidance for their police use. A national pilot of body-worn cameras was conducted in Plymouth, which showed promising results. Tony McNulty MP, Minister of State for Security, Counter-Terrorism, and Police, highlighted the potential of body-worn video to improve the quality of evidence provided by police officers. The intervention of the Home Office highlighted to importance of body cameras as an emerging tool to the public which no doubt helped increase their rate of adoption by organisations.

2008 – Following the national pilot, the use of body-worn cameras gained traction in the UK. By 2008, Hampshire Police started using the technology in certain areas. Chief Constable Andy Marsh became the national lead for body-worn cameras, leading efforts to review the legislation surrounding their use.

2009 – the Security Industry Authority concluded that a CCTV license could be extended to cover the use of a body camera, allowing for the review of footage. A door supervision or security guard license was required if security activities were also being performed.

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2010 – five years after the first body-worn camera venture, over 40 UK police areas were using body cameras to varying degrees. Grampian Police initiated a trial in July 2010, leading to the Paisley and Aberdeen body-worn video project in 2011, which was considered highly successful. The project demonstrated numerous benefits of body cameras for police, including increased public reassurance, reduced fear of crime, early guilty pleas, quicker resolution of complaints, and decreased assaults on officers.

2014 – The Metropolitan Police began a 10 borough trial which concluded with the roll out of some 22,000 body cameras to public facing officers. This was the largest rollout in the history of body cameras at the time. The stated purpose of body worn cameras in the police was to help increase transparency and trust by the public and defend against false accusations.  This year also saw the release of the Home Office Guidance on body cameras, being the first significant government action related to the devices, and a resounding answer to whether police should wear body cameras or not: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/568290/technical-guidance-body-worn-video-07716o.pdf

2015 – A body camera pilot was run by the Police Service of Northern Ireland to see if police should wear body cameras, which resulted in the deployment of devices across the service.

2016  – Body Cameras introduced to a limited number of NHS trusts including Guy’s & St Thomas hospital. Pilots are launched to investigate the pros of body cameras and possible deployment for use by medical staff.

2017 – The Northern Ireland Prison Service implemented body worn video cameras. 2018 – North East Ambulance Services trials body cameras for ambulance staff. Devon and Cornwall police also began rolling out body cameras to officers. The Data Protection Act 2018 came in to force and allowed members of the public to request police body cam footage from UK Police forces. This has a significant effect on police body cam rules. 2019 – Derbyshire Fire & Rescue start trial to see the pros of body cameras for firefighters 2020 – The UK prison and probation service runs pilot program and issues findings: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/882361/body-worn-video-camera-pilot-evaluation.pdf
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2022 – Body Cameras are announced to soon become mandatory for bailiffs and high court enforcement officers. The National Police Chiefs Council issues new guidance to replace the 2014 Home Office publication: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/568290/technical-guidance-body-worn-video-07716o.pdf

2023 – At the time of writing, body cameras are widely used by major government and private organisations. Every year, more and more industries begin introducing body cameras with even retail stores like Tesco now using them.  As crime rates increase, there is no doubt a lot more that will happen in the history of body cameras as we move forward and that the importance of body cameras will steadily increase.

What are the Body Camera Laws in the UK?

While there are no specific laws in the UK that cover body cameras, a lot of rules regarding data management such as the ICO and GDPR are relevant. There are several guidances that apply but this is mainly for organisations. For a full exploration of the relevant laws, please check out this article.

You can also see the ICO body worn camera notes here: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/uk-gdpr-guidance-and-resources/cctv-and-video-surveillance/guidance-on-video-surveillance-including-cctv/additional-considerations-for-technologies-other-than-cctv/?q=children

Who Uses Body Cameras in the United Kingdom?

At the time of writing, body cameras are being deployed in almost every industry by both public and private entities. Private citizens are also widely adopting body cameras as a way of increasing their personal safety. The purpose of body worn cameras are to help protect users and collect evidence so any jobs that may benefit from this may use them. Types of jobs that currently employ body cameras include:

Law Enforcement: Police officers in most police forces across the UK should wear body cameras as part of their standard equipment. Body-worn cameras have been widely adopted by law enforcement to increase transparency, accountability, and improve interactions with the public. Police body cam rules and usage will vary across forces.

Security Personnel: Private security personnel, including security guards and door supervisors, may also use body cameras as part of their job. While not adopted as early as the police forces, the security industry recognized the importance of body cameras well before many other sectors. Body worn cameras can help document incidents, deter potential troublemakers, and provide evidence in case of disputes or legal matters.

Public Transport Staff: Some staff members working in public transport, such as bus drivers and train conductors, use body cameras for safety and security reasons. These cameras can help record incidents of misconduct, violence, or accidents on public transport.

Healthcare Professionals: While not as prevalent as in other sectors, there have been trials and experiments of body cameras by certain NHS trusts and healthcare professionals in the UK. In some cases, body cameras were tested to address violence against healthcare staff or to enhance communication and training.

Local Government Officers: Certain local government officers, such as community safety officers or trading standards, may use body cameras during their duties to record interactions with the public and gather evidence.

Civil Enforcement Officers: Civil enforcement officers, commonly known as traffic wardens, use body cameras to record interactions and gather evidence when issuing parking tickets or enforcing traffic regulations.

Other body camera users include:

Door Supervisors

Delivery Drivers

Ambulance Staff and Paramedics

Search and Rescue

Insurance Investigators

Cleaners

Taxi Drivers

Audit and Compliance Officers

Retail Staff

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Body Cameras?

Body cameras, like any technology, come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a breakdown of some of the main pros and cons associated with the use of body cameras and body worn cameras:

Advantages:

Transparency and Accountability: Body cameras provide an objective record of interactions, incidents, and events, increasing transparency and holding individuals accountable for their actions.

Evidence Collection: Body camera footage can serve as valuable evidence in investigations, court proceedings, and other legal matters, helping to establish facts and support the truth. Body camera evidence in court is now commonplace in the UK.

Improved Officer Behaviour: Knowing that their actions are being recorded, officers may demonstrate more professional behaviour, leading to potentially better interactions with the public.

Resolving Complaints: Body camera footage can help resolve disputes and complaints, providing an unbiased account of incidents.

Training and Evaluation: Recorded footage can be used for training purposes, allowing organizations to evaluate and improve the performance of their personnel. Body worn camera training is particularly prevalent in public sector bodies.

Public Trust: The use of body cameras can enhance public trust in law enforcement and other professions by fostering transparency and reducing the likelihood of misconduct.

De-escalation: The presence of body cameras may de-escalate tense situations, as both parties may be more conscious of their actions and words.

Safety and Documentation: In some professions, body cameras contribute to employee safety and serve as a means of documenting incidents and procedures.

Disadvantages:

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Privacy Concerns: Body cameras may record sensitive information and private conversations, raising privacy concerns for both individuals involved and innocent bystanders.

Data Storage and Management: Managing and storing vast amounts of recorded footage can be resource-intensive and require robust data management systems. You would also need to abide by ICO body worn camera guidance and GDPR.

Selective Recording: Officers may have the discretion to start and stop recording, leading to concerns about potential cherry-picking of footage and biased presentation of events.

Costs: The initial investment in body camera systems, along with ongoing maintenance and data storage costs, can be significant for organizations.

Impact on Behaviour: In some cases, the presence of body cameras may alter the behaviour of both officers and the public, potentially affecting the authenticity of interactions.

Reliability of Footage: Environmental factors, camera placement, and technical issues can affect the quality and accuracy of recorded footage.

Subjective Interpretation: The interpretation of body camera footage may still be subject to individual biases or perspectives.

Legal and Ethical Challenges: The use of body cameras raises legal and ethical questions, including data retention periods, access to footage, and consent in private settings.

What Types of Body Cameras are there?

There are a wide variety of body cameras available, differing on specification, quality, features and more. The features will vary depending on the purpose of the body camera. You can generally divide and subdivide them into these categories:

Professional vs Non-Professional Body Worn Cameras:

Professional body cameras will be more robust, have a longer battery life and include a lot more features. Non-professional cameras with be cheap and tend to be designed to only work for a short period. They will have recording time in the sub-5 hour range and almost no IP rating.

Encrypted vs Unencrypted:

Within professional body cameras, you will have a very wide range of body cams going from around hundred pounds up to the £700 – £800 range. To further dig down, you can then divide professional cameras into encrypted and unencrypted.

Unencrypted cameras can range from £80 – £200+ and can we found on websites such as Interconnective,  Amazon and Ebay. On Amazon and Ebay, these will tend to be Chinese made and sold directly by a Chinese seller. Interconnective and other professional body camera resellers will at least of support and other features.

Encrypted Cameras tend to be more expensive than non-encrypted ones (though The Partner MK4 & EC1 Models are still affordable). Encryption is a necessity for most organisations as per GDPR.

Locally-Installed vs Cloud Storage

One of the other broad stroke categories for body cameras are whether they are locally installed solutions or have cloud storage. Locally installed solutions are cheaper and don’t normally require ongoing fees like license renewals. Body cameras with cloud storage are more expensive and will require an internet connection to function. They will also generally have ongoing costs such as cloud storage fees and license renewals. Streaming body cameras are a type of cloud based device.

The difference between locally-installed, cloud storage and streaming body cameras.

The difference between locally-installed, cloud storage, and streaming body cameras lies in how they handle the storage and management of recorded footage as well as the cost of the camera and whether fees are ongoing or one-off:

Locally-Installed Body Cameras – these body worn video cameras store recorded footage directly on the camera’s internal storage or on a removable storage device (such as an SD card or internal memory). The recorded data remains physically stored on the camera until it is manually transferred to a physical computer that is held on-site.

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Advantages of Locally-Installed Body Cameras:

Immediate access to recorded footage on the camera itself.

No reliance on an internet connection for data transfer.

May be more suitable for environments with limited or no internet connectivity.

Tends to be one off cost with no ongoing fees

Disadvantages of Locally-Installed Body Cameras:

Limited storage capacity, requiring frequent manual data transfers.

Risk of data loss or tampering if the camera is damaged or lost before data transfer.

Cloud Storage Body Cameras – these bodycams transmit recorded footage wirelessly to remote servers hosted by a cloud service provider. The footage is stored securely in the cloud, and users can access it through web-based or mobile applications. The footage may or may not also be stored on the camera.

Advantages of Cloud Body Cameras:

Large storage capacity, as the cloud servers can handle vast amounts of data.

Accessibility from anywhere with an internet connection.

Reduced risk of data loss since footage is backed up remotely.

Disadvantages of Cloud Body Cameras:

Dependence on a stable internet connection for real-time access and data transfer.

Potential concerns regarding data privacy and security on cloud servers.

Ongoing costs for license fees and storage.

Requires Cameras with WIFI connectivity which are more expensive.

Streaming Body Cameras – Streaming body cameras transmit live video and audio footage in real-time to a remote monitoring center or command post. This allows supervisors or team members to monitor the situation as it unfolds.

Advantages of Streaming Body Cameras:

Real-time situational awareness and coordination for team members and supervisors.

Immediate response to critical incidents or emergencies.

Similar advantages to cloud storage for storing data

Will tend to use SIM data rather than WIFI for signal strength

Disadvantages of Streaming Body Cameras:


Requires a stable and reliable internet connection for continuous streaming.


High bandwidth usage


Data Charges


Higher storage fees than cloud cameras


Much more expensive cameras than just WIFI models


Continuous live streaming may raise privacy concerns in certain settings.


Are all body cameras encrypted and why is it important?

Not all body cameras are encrypted, but encryption is an essential and critical feature for professional body camera users and companies. This is especially true in the UK and other jurisdictions where data protection and privacy are significant concerns.

The purpose of body worn camera encryption is to convert data into a code or cipher to prevent unauthorized access and protect sensitive information. Encryption ensures that the recorded video and audio footage is securely stored and can only be accessed by authorized personnel. Here’s why encryption is important for body cameras in the UK:

Compliance with Data Protection Laws: In the UK, and under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as codified in the Data Protection Act 2018, organizations are required to implement appropriate security measures to protect personal data. Encryption is considered mandatory in order to meet this requirement. If you are a company or public body, you will need encrypted body cameras. You will also need to comply with the ICO body worn camera guidance.

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Data Security and Privacy Protection: Body cameras often capture sensitive and personal information about individuals involved in incidents. Encryption helps safeguard this data from unauthorized access, ensuring that the footage remains confidential and protected from potential data breaches.

Preventing Tampering and Unauthorized Modifications: Encryption adds a layer of security that makes it significantly more challenging for malicious actors to tamper with or alter the recorded footage. Encrypted data is protected from unauthorized modifications, maintaining the integrity of the evidence collected.

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The Partner Body Cameras: Working for over a decade in the UK private and public sector, they specialize in high-quality encrypted body cameras with affordable solutions such as the locally-installed The Partner DEMS.

Axon (formerly Taser International): Axon is an American provider of law enforcement technology, including body-worn cameras, tasers, and cloud-based evidence management solutions. They have a strong presence in the UK and are used by many police forces and law enforcement agencies. Their offerings tend to be fully integrated ecosystems rather than selling individual body cameras. They are by far the largest company in the body camera market at the time of writing.

Reveal Media: Reveal Media specializes in body-worn camera solutions designed for law enforcement, security, and other public safety professionals. They offer a range of body camera models and evidence management software. Their USPs are front facing screens and articulated lenses. The actual value of these features is debatable.

Edesix (a Motorola Solutions Company): Edesix, acquired by Motorola Solutions, was known for its body-worn camera solutions used in various industries, including police, security, and retail. Their cameras have historically been described as video badges but less so these days.

Pinnacle Response: Pinnacle Response provides body-worn camera solutions tailored for the security sectors. Their cameras, similarly to The Partner cameras, do not have screens or articulated lenses as these are weak points in the device which can arguably lower its ruggedness. The are one of the earlier entrants into the body camera market.

Wireless CCTV (WCCTV): This company manufactures in the UK and tend to produce cameras with front facing screens and fixed position lenses. They also produce CCTV dome cameras.

Halo Technologies: Halo are a relatively new entrant into the UK body camera market and have gained market share very quickly. Their unique offering is the ability to rent cameras instead of buying them outright.

What body worn camera specifications matter and what don’t?

Every body camera manufacturer touts the particular body camera specification that their device stands out at. Some features are vital, others less so.

Video Quality: Video resolution is always a trade off against battery life and to a lesser extent storage capacity. While many cameras tout their high-resolution, in practice, you may never use the max setting as it will chew through battery life. While higher quality video is nice, it is not very practical. 1080p (Full HD) is more than enough for non-cloud/streaming cameras. For the cloud and particularly streaming cameras, the most common resolution is 720p due to data costs.

Battery Life: This is arguably the most important feature for body cameras as most other features depend on battery life. The purpose of a body camera is to record footage and without a decent battery, you will have trouble do that for more than a short period. A decent battery over 3000mHa is almost essential for a modern body worn camera. Long battery life will depend on what features you are running, recording resolution and whether you are recording only incidents or recording continuously. 

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Storage Capacity: Lots of cameras like to talk about 128GB storage but that is honestly a waste. The first thing to check is what encoding the body camera uses. If it uses H.264 instead of H.265 then that 128GB is about the same as 64GB with H.265. If you are downloading your camera every day then you don’t need much space. 32GB at H.265 encoding is more than sufficient for most users. If you are continuously recording and then not downloading the bwv camera for days on end, then higher storage capacity becomes an issue. In this case, you can also turn on looped recording which will start recording over the oldest footage stored on the camera so you don’t need to download it at all unless there is an incident.

Durability and Water Resistance: This is an important feature because most body worn camera users are wearing them for a reason and those tend to be on the more physical side. Ruggedness is generally measured by IP Ratings and drop tests. Both of these have their weaknesses that users should be aware of. The IP Rating refers to how much dust and water exposure an electronic device can suffer before having issues. This is not always a correlation to how rugged a body camera is however it is best to avoid anything with an IP rating lower than IP65. A drop test can be misleading unless the manufacturer discloses the surface it has been tested on. A 1.8 metre drop on wood is very different from a 1.8 metre drop on concrete.

Field of View (FOV): Most bodycams these days are wide angle. For a few years there was a lot of variety in the field of view but the industry appears to have settled on 140 Degrees as being standard. You get a few 130s like the Transcend Cameras and then the odd random one like some of Hytera’s models.

Low-Light Performance / Night-vision: This is also an important feature for any body camera users who plan on using their devices in dimly lit areas or at night. Most body worn video cameras will have a decent sensor to handle low-light recording and many will have infra-red lamps that will kick in once lux levels reach low enough. This is normally automatic although some cameras have the option for manual activation. Range is important with most decent cameras offering up to 10 metres and some, like The Partner MK4, up to 15 metres.

Encryption: If you are a private company or public body, having encryption is essential to maintaining compliance with GDPR. If you are a private user, you can get away with not having encryption but for professionals it is essential.

Pre-Record: This feature is great in theory and is used quite widely but in practice it has its drawbacks. Pre-record chews through battery life faster than any other feature. This is because it is essentially continuously recording and then dumping the footage rather than saving it. If you do require this feature, you had better have a solid battery in your camera to back it up.

Connectivity Options: WIFI, Bluetooth and sim (3G or 4G) connectivity only matter to body cameras that are fully integrated into a cloud based storage or streaming system. There are many devices that have connectivity that don’t actually have anything to connect with. There are also a few mobile apps that go with some body cameras but in our experience, they rarely work well or are worthwhile.

How important is resolution and recording quality?

We touched on this in the above section. Body camera recording resolution is a double edged sword with high quality videos requiring more battery life to record. If you body worn vide camera has a solid battery then feel free to increase the resolution. If it has a smaller battery, then lower it.

The purpose of body cameras is to record footage so higher video quality is obviously a benefit if you need to pick out details in a video for evidence in court or other purposes. It is important to ensure that your camera is capable of handling the highest resolution it offers. Some cameras will offer 4K recording but then run out of battery in a couple of hours.

Video resolution also equates to file size. The higher the quality of the video, the bigger the file that is created. This causes a problem for cloud based and streaming cameras where bandwidth, sim data and cloud storage fees are a consideration.

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How you use the body camera is also relevant as someone who only records incidents versus someone continuously records, will has different outcomes. Incident only recording means that most cameras will be able to use its highest resolution for extended periods. Continuous recordings, less so.

How does body camera night vision work?

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There are two parts to how most modern professional body cams handle low-light and night-vision. The first part is through the use of a CMOS sensor. A CMOS sensor is an active pixel sensor that converts photons to electrons for digital processing. It allows footage to be recorded even in very low-light conditions. The CMOS sensor is always active and does not require any activation like the next element.

The second part of body camera night-vision is infra-red. Once lux levels fall too low, there is nothing for the photodetectors in the sensor to pick up. This is when infra-red is deployed. Many body cameras will have infra-red lamps that will either manually or automatically activate and begin recording in greyscale.

It is important to note in the UK that there is debate over whether greyscale images can be used by the police in court and as such some manufacturers like WCCTV and Reveal do not offer this feature. Bodycams like The Partner MK4 have infra-red but also the ability to disable it if needed.

Are body cameras waterproof?

A lot of body cameras are resistant to water to varying degrees. As most bodycams will be exposed to the elements, it is important to ensure that your chosen model will be up to the task of whatever you will be using it for.

The scale by which body worn camera waterproofing is measured is the Ingress Protection code. It is represented by the letters IP followed by two numbers. The first number represents protection against solids which include dust and particulates.

The Dust rating can be explained as follows:

Level sizedEffective against 
XUnknownX means no data is available to specify a protection rating about this criterion.
0No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1> 50 mmAny large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part
2.0 in
2> 12.5 mmFingers or similar objects
0.49 in
3> 2.5 mmTools, thick wires, etc.
0.098 in
4> 1 mmMost wires, slender screws, large ants, etc.
0.039 in
5Dust protectedIngress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the safe operation of the equipment.
6Dust-tightNo ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust-tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on airflow.

The second number is the one that represents the level of protection against water that a bodycam has. The breakdown is below:

LevelProtection againstEffective againstDetails
XUnknownX means no data is available to specify a protection rating concerning these criteria.
0NoneNo protection against ingress of water
1Dripping waterDripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no unsafe effect on the specimen when mounted upright onto a turntable and rotated at 1 RPM.Test duration: 10 minutes
Water equivalent to 1 mm (0.039 in) rainfall per minute
2Dripping water when tilted at 15°Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle of 15° from its normal position. A total of four positions are tested within two axes.Test duration: 2.5 minutes for every direction of tilt (10 minutes total)
Water equivalent to 3 mm (0.12 in) rainfall per minute
3Spraying waterWater falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with a counterbalanced shield.For a spray nozzle:
Test a) is conducted for 5 minutes, then repeated with the specimen rotated horizontally by 90° for the second 5-minute test. Test b) is conducted (with a shield in place) for 5 minutes minimum.Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 5 minutes[4] Water volume: 10 liters per minute (0.037 impgal/s) Pressure: 50–150 kPa (7.3–21.8 psi)   For an oscillating tube: Test duration: 10 minutes Water volume: 0.07 liters per minute (0.00026 impgal/s) per hole
4Splashing of waterWater splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with no shield. Test a) is conducted for 10 minutes. b) is conducted (without shield) for 5 minutes minimum.Oscillating tube: Test duration: 10 minutes, or spray nozzle (same as IPX3 spray nozzle with the shield removed)
5Water jetsWater projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm (0.25 in)) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 12.5 litres per minute Pressure: 30 kPa (4.4 psi) at distance of 3 meters (9.8 ft)
6Powerful water jetsWater projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm (0.49 in)) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 100 liters per minute (0.37 impgal/s) Pressure: 100 kPa (15 psi) at distance of 3 meters (9.8 ft)
6KPowerful water jets with increased pressureWater projected in powerful jets (6.3 mm (0.25 in) nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction, under elevated pressure, shall have no harmful effects. Found in DIN 40050, and not IEC 60529.Test duration: at least 3 minutes[citation needed]
Water volume: 75 liters per minute (0.27 impgal/s) Pressure: 1,000 kPa (150 psi) at distance of 3 meters (9.8 ft)
7Immersion, up to 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) depthIngress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) of submersion).Test duration: 30 minutes.[3]
Tested with the lowest point of the enclosure 1,000 mm (39 in) below the surface of the water, or the highest point 150 mm (5.9 in) below the surface, whichever is deeper.
8Immersion, 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) or more depthThe equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which the manufacturer shall specify. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only so that it produces no harmful effects. The test depth and duration are expected to be greater than the requirements for IPx7, and other environmental effects may be added, such as temperature cycling before immersion.Test duration: agreement with the manufacturer
Depth specified by the manufacturer, generally up to 3 meters (9.8 ft)
9Powerful high-temperature water jetsProtected against close-range high-pressure, high-temperature spray downs.Test duration: Fixture: 30 sec. in each of 4 angles (2 min. total), Freehand: 1 min/m2, 3 min. minimum
Smaller specimens rotate slowly on a turntable from 4 specific angles. Larger specimens are mounted in the intended position when used, no turntable required, and are tested freehand for at least 3 minutes at a distance of 0.15–0.2 meters (5.9 in – 7.9 in).Water volume: 14–16 liters per minute (0.051–0.059 impgal/s) Pressure: 8–10 MPa (80–100 bar) at distance of 0.10–0.15 meters (3.9 in – 5.9 in) Water temperature: 80 °C (176 °F)
The specific requirements for the test nozzle are shown in figures 7, 8, & 9 of IEC (or EN) 60529. 
This test is identified as IPx9 in IEC 60529. 

If there is an X instead of a number, it means that this product has not yet been tested or certified for that particular criteria. It should be warned however that some unscrupulous body camera manufacturers might deliberately not rate their devices knowing that it will have a low score.

Are body cameras with audio standard?

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

While the question of whether body cameras have audio is a common one, the reality is that is actually very rare to find a body worn camera that does not have audio. Almost every body camera, and definitely any professional level model, will have a microphone built in to the device that will record and audio track.

Not all body camera audio tracks are equal however. The quality of microphone will vary between manufacturers and it actually tends to be a feature that is commonly ignored in favour of bigger, shinier USPs.

As there is no easy way to quantify audio recording that most people would understand, body camera manufacturers will not compete on this point as they would on things like resolution and storage which the public understand enough about to compare.

Some companies like The Partner Body Cameras do put a lot of effort in to their body camera audio recording hardware and software including high quality microphones and noise filtering technology.

How are body cameras mounted on the user?

There are two parts to any question about body cameras mounts, there where and the how.

First, let’s look at where on the user, a body camera can be mounted. The four most common locations are:

Chest Mount: This is one of the most common placements for body cameras. The camera is usually clipped or attached to a chest harness or a vest worn by the user. The chest mount provides a stable view of the user’s point of view. It offers an equal view on both sides of the body. The only draw back is it can obstruct the user if they are required to do intensive manual tasks across the centre of their body.

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

Shoulder Mount: Some body cameras come with a shoulder strap or a clip that allows the camera to be secured on the user’s shoulder. Shoulder mounting, if done correctly, provides a stable position where the bodycam does not obstruct the user. Normally, the body camera is mounted on the left shoulder as the majority of users are right handed. The main drawback for shoulder mounting is that the footage will have a leftward lean. This is particularly true is users are especially muscular in the shoulder area.

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

Head Mount: Similar to action cameras, some body cameras can be attached to a headband or helmet, enabling a first-person perspective. This is commonly used in scenarios where the user needs to maintain a hands-free operation. This is more common for tactical body cameras as used by armed response or military units rather than civilian or public operations such as security or police.

Collar/Epaulette/Lapel Mounts: Some body cameras are designed to clip onto the user’s collar or epaulette. These types of mountings for body cams are less common but still do pop up. Collar mounts are the least common but are sometimes used for overt cameras. Epaulette mounts used to be more common with some manufacturers including them as standard with some body worn cameras but they seemed to have gone out of fashion. 

Some users will use body cameras with 360 degree clips and have then at 90 degrees so that they can attach to their lapels. This is more common with civilian body cameras than police or security.

Now that we have discussed the where, we come to the how. These are the most common mounting options for body cameras:

Pressure Clips: Almost every standard body camera will come with pressure clips as standard. They normally slide on the back and function like standard crocodile clips, using tension to hold the body cam in place. Some clips will be fixed position and others will be rotatable. Rotatable clips range from 180 degrees all the way up to a full 360 for some.

KlickFast Docks: KlickFast body cameras are the industry standards for several sectors in the UK. If a body worn video camera has a compatible KlickFast stud then it can be used with the full range of docks and harnesses that are available. The KlickFast system is extremely secure and easy to use which prevents cameras getting damaged during physical alterations.

Harnesses: Used in conjunction with either the pressure clip or the KlickFast stud depending on its make, a harness offers a very secure mounting option to users. Harnesses tend to be much more secure than clips and allow users to remove it easily when compared to sewn in docks like some uniforms will have.

Magnet Docks: Like harnesses, these will work with your existing attachment (clip or stud) but unlike body camera harnesses, they are not secured against other parts of the body. Magnet Docks use strong magnets to hold two sides of the dock together with a layer of clothing or fabric between them, They offer a much wider range of mounting positions that harnesses as they can essentially be put wherever on the body there is space to do so.

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

What is a typical body camera price?

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

In the history of body worn cameras, their prices have fluctuated wildly. When first introduced, most were nearly £1000 each but as new entrants joined the market, body worn cameras became more accessible. Modern body camera prices vary widely depending on the make, model and features that the device offers. Other factors such as whether they are supported, cloud based or serviced will also have an effect.

The cheapest bwv cameras are those that are bought from body camera market places such as Ebay and Amazon where the seller will be a Chinese body camera manufacturer who sell directly into the UK market. Generally, these will be unsupported and getting assistance is extremely difficult. A good example of these are Boblov body cameras which are widely spread due to their price but absent any kind of support. These types of cameras will generally run £60 – £150+.

Professional level unencrypted body cameras will generally run between £100 and £200. You can be these on marketplaces as above or from distributors like Interconnective or one of the many resellers you see online.

Once you start requiring encryption, body camera prices start to increase rapidly. The Partner Body Cameras do buck this trend being the only sub-£300 and £200 (depending on model) encrypted cameras on the market at the time of writing. Most other encrypted cameras with set you back in the £300 – £500 range. At the highest end, the most expensive cameras tend to be streaming body cameras which will cost anything from £500 – £800 depending on the make and model.

Where is the best place that has body cams for sale?

There are a lot of places these days that have body cams for sale. There seems to have been a natural progression from the radio industry into the body camera market which means that many radio sellers now sell body cameras.

With regards to online purchases, there are of course the market places such as Amazon and Ebay. There are distributors like Interconnective and ADI who offer various ranges of body cameras as well as a long list of websites that focus on selling one brand such as Hytera and Pinnacle Body Cameras who are popular with resellers.

If you are looking for body cams for sale, you can find them almost anywhere these days. Its important that when you choose a seller that you look at what kind of support they offer and how easy it is to reach them.

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

How to request police body camera footage in the UK?

One of the benefits of police body cameras is that they are subject the same laws as any data held by a police force, including GDPR. Under GDPR, and the subsequent Data Protection Act 2018, members of the public can request information that any organization holds about them. This is done through a Right to Access Request (also called a Subject Access Request or SAR) and can be made to any police force in the UK. The process request police body cam footage is the same as requesting any information from them such as CCTV, photographs or interview tapes. This is also covered by the ICO body worn camera directions.

There are couple of situations where they can refuse to had over information. This is where a request is either manifestly unfounded or manifestly excessive.

While requesting police body camera footage’s process may differ between police forces, the best way to approach making a request is as follows:

Identify the Police Force: Determine which police force is involved in the incident for which you are seeking the body camera footage. Each police force may have its own procedures for handling requests.

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

Contact the Police Force: You can typically make a request for body camera footage by contacting the relevant police force’s public access or disclosure unit. You can find their contact information on the police force’s official website.

Submit a Formal Request: In most cases, you will need to submit a formal request in writing. Some police forces may have specific request forms that you need to use. Make sure to include as much detail as possible about the incident, including the date, time, location, and names or badge numbers of the officers involved.

Explain Your Relationship to the Incident: You may need to clarify your relationship to the incident and explain why you are requesting the body camera footage. For example, if you are a victim, a witness, or a legal representative of someone involved, this information may be necessary for processing your request.

Consider Timeframes: The process of obtaining body camera footage may take some time, especially if the footage is part of an ongoing investigation. Be patient and inquire about the expected timeframe for receiving a response.

Appeals Process: If your request is denied, or you are not satisfied with the response, there may be an appeals process you can follow. This information should be provided in the response you receive. If the police force does not have a body worn video footage appeals process then it might be worth contacting the ICO.

Do you need special body camera training to use them?

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

Modern body cameras are actually not very complicated devices. They will generally only have one or two buttons and maybe a switch. There isn’t really a lot to learn about the devices themselves but the complications come with the implications of using them. Due to privacy regulations and ethical issues, most organisations will offer some degree of body camera training. This is particularly true of police and government bodies. Civilian body camera users tend not to require any special training.

The type of body camera training offered with center around these themes:

Technical Training: Understanding how to operate the body camera, including turning it on and off, adjusting settings, and managing battery life. Settings may be handled by supervisors so depending on SOPs, this may be omitted. This is the most common type of body worn camera training.

Legal and Policy Training: Familiarizing users with the laws and regulations regarding body camera usage in their jurisdiction. This training ensures that users are aware of when and where they can record, as well as when they should deactivate the camera to respect privacy rights.

Situational Usage: Teaching users how and when to activate the camera during specific encounters or incidents, such as interactions with the public or response to incidents.

Data Management: Instructing users on how to securely store, handle, and transfer the recorded footage to prevent tampering or unauthorized access. Digital Evidence Management software will also be given for users that need to do just more than dock their body cams. Some centres or companies may include body worn camera training for DEMS systems in their CCTV classes. Adherence to GDPR and ICO body worn camera directions would be essential.

Ethical Considerations: Providing guidance on ethical issues with using body cameras, such as ensuring the privacy of individuals in sensitive situations and maintaining the integrity of the footage.

Can body camera footage be used as evidence in court in the UK?

Absolutely, yes it can, body cameras have a long history of being employed as evidence in court. In the United Kingdom, body worn video footage is regularly used by both the defence and prosecution to prove their cases. As long as no laws were violated in the recording of the footage (as discussed above) then there is no reason that your should not be able to use bwv footage in court.

What are the advantages of body cameras for the police?

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

Body cameras for the police can have both advantages and disadvantages. These devices have been adopted by law enforcement agencies around the world, and their use has sparked discussions about their impact on policing and civil liberties and whether police should wear body cameras. Here are some of the main advantages:

Transparency and Accountability: A big police body camera benefit is that they can promote transparency in police interactions with the public. The footage created can provide an objective record of incidents, which can be valuable in resolving disputes, investigating complaints, and holding both officers and citizens accountable for their actions.

Evidence Collection: Police body camera footage can serve as valuable evidence in criminal investigations and court proceedings. It can provide an accurate account of events, which can be crucial in prosecuting offenders or exonerating innocent individuals.

Improved Officer Behaviour: Knowing that they are being recorded can encourage police officers to adhere to departmental policies and best practices. This can lead to improved behaviour and professionalism during interactions with the public. This is often cited by campaigners as a leading reason why police should wear body cameras.

Community Relations: The use of body cameras can help build trust between the police and the communities they serve. When the public sees that officers are being held accountable through video documentation, it can enhance community perceptions of the police.

Training and Learning Opportunities: Body camera footage can be used for training purposes. Law enforcement agencies can review the recordings to identify areas where officers may need additional training or support.

What are the disadvantages of body cameras for the police?

While the benefits of police body cameras generally outweigh the disadvantages, there are several considerations to take into account:

Privacy Concerns: One of the negatives of police body cameras is that they can capture sensitive and private information about individuals, especially in private spaces like homes or hospitals. Ensuring the protection of civilians’ privacy rights while using the cameras is a significant challenge.

Selective Recording: Officers may have the discretion to turn the cameras on and off in certain situations, which could lead to selective recording and potential bias in what gets captured on camera.

Storage and Data Management: Managing and storing vast amounts of video data from body cameras can be costly and resource-intensive for police departments.

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

It also raises concerns about data security and the potential for unauthorized access or data breaches. This can cause headaches of departments and acts as one of the primary negatives of police body cameras. Under British laws, members of the public can request police body cam footage form UK Police forces.

Officer Comfort and Safety: The presence of body cameras may affect an officer’s focus on their safety during dangerous situations, as they might be concerned about the camera being damaged or misused.

Subjectivity in Interpretation: Body camera footage may not always provide a clear and definitive account of an incident. Different viewers can interpret the same footage differently, leading to debates about the context and intentions behind actions captured on camera.

Legal Challenges: The use of body camera footage as evidence in court may face legal challenges related to chain of custody, admissibility, and authenticity.

What are the police body cam rules in the UK?

Police body cam rules different between Police forces in the UK. There are however commonalities in body cam rules between police organisations that they tend to follow:

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

Use and Activation: Police officers are generally required to use body-worn cameras during their interactions with the public. The purpose is to record encounters and gather potential evidence for investigations and legal proceedings. Officers should activate their body cameras during various situations, such as when attending incidents, conducting arrests, engaging in stop and search operations, or interacting with members of
the public where evidence collection might be necessary.

Privacy and Consent: Police officers are expected to inform individuals that they are being recorded, unless it is unsafe, impractical, or goes against the purpose of the recording (e.g., capturing spontaneous incidents). There are situations where consent may not be possible or appropriate, especially when capturing evidence during arrest or when dealing with individuals who may become aggressive or attempt to destroy evidence.

Recording in Private Settings: The use of body-worn cameras in private settings, such as private residences, is highly regulated. In most cases, officers must obtain explicit consent before recording in such environments. There are exceptions to this consent requirement, such as when officers have reasonable grounds to believe that recording is necessary to prevent or detect crime.

Data Storage and Retention: Data recorded by body-worn cameras is considered sensitive personal information and should be handled in accordance with data protection laws, such as the UK Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Police forces have specific procedures for the secure storage, management, and retention of recorded data. The retention periods can vary depending on the nature of the incident and the relevant legal requirements.

Access to Footage: Individuals who have been recorded by body-worn cameras may have the right to access the footage through a subject access request under data protection laws. There are exceptions to releasing footage, such as when doing so could compromise an ongoing investigation, endanger someone’s safety, or violate someone else’s privacy rights.

Misuse and Accountability: Police officers are prohibited from tampering with or deleting footage to conceal any potential misconduct or wrongdoing. Failure to comply with the rules and guidelines on body-worn cameras may result in disciplinary action against the officer.

What are the negative effects of police body cameras?

The use of police body cameras has generally been seen as a positive step towards increasing transparency and accountability in law enforcement. However, there have been some negative effects on the public resulting from the use of these cameras:

Privacy Concerns: The presence of body cameras raises privacy concerns among the public. People may feel uncomfortable being recorded during police interactions, especially in sensitive or private situations, such as domestic incidents or medical emergencies.

Distrust and Perception of Surveillance: Some members of the public may view the use of body cameras as a form of surveillance, leading to feelings of distrust towards law enforcement. They may worry that their actions and movements are constantly monitored, even during routine encounters. With privacy and spying already being a hot button issue, this has had a negative effect on police body camera usage.

, A Guide to Body Cameras in the UK

Chilling Effect: The knowledge that interactions with police are being recorded may create a chilling effect, causing some individuals to be less forthcoming or cooperative during encounters. This could hinder effective communication and information exchange between officers and the public.

Selective Recording Perception: If officers are perceived to selectively activate or deactivate their body cameras, the public’s confidence in the technology’s integrity and effectiveness may erode. This perception could raise suspicions about the true level of transparency achieved through body cameras.

Victimization Concerns: In cases involving victims of crime or vulnerable individuals, the presence of body cameras may exacerbate trauma or make individuals hesitant to report incidents, fearing that their experiences will be recorded and potentially disseminated.

Misuse of Footage: Concerns arise about the potential misuse of body camera footage. Unauthorized access, leaks, or inappropriate sharing of videos could harm individuals’ reputations or compromise their safety and privacy.

Lack of Accountability: Despite the presence of body cameras, there have been instances where officers’ actions captured on video did not result in accountability or disciplinary actions. This lack of consequences may lead to public frustration and scepticism about the effectiveness of body cameras in holding officers accountable. With many police forces coming under scrutiny for other issues, this has had a negative effect on police body camera use’s perception by the public.

Public Release of Footage: Decisions about whether and when to release body camera footage to the public can be contentious. Releasing sensitive or graphic videos, particularly in high-profile cases, may fuel public outrage and contribute to social unrest.

Resource Allocation: The cost of implementing and maintaining body camera programs can be significant for police departments. Some argue that resources could be better allocated to other community-based initiatives that could improve public safety in different ways.

Original price was: £180.00.Current price is: £150.00. (ex VAT)

Original price was: £7.00.Current price is: £5.00. (ex VAT)

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