Following the shooting of a man by armed police on a Yorkshire motorway slip road in January this year, it has been confirmed that West Yorkshire firearms officers will be issued with body cameras.
Fatal incident not recorded on camera
Yassar Yaqub, who was 28, is believed to have been a passenger in an Audi A4 that had been followed by four unmarked police cars on its journey from Bradford towards Huddersfield on the M62. The Audi was brought to a stop on a motorway slip road, at which point Mr Yaqub received fatal gunshot wounds to his chest. A firearm was subsequently found in the Audi.
There is no video evidence of exactly how the events unfolded because none of the officers involved in the shooting were wearing body cameras. Reports suggest that there is no CCTV footage of the incident from any source.
The Chief Inspector of West Yorkshire Police, Ian Williams, has issued a report detailing the fact that the West Yorkshire force had previously purchased body cameras in sufficient quantities to cover all operations, including the firearms department. However, it had been decided that these officers did not need to be issued with the devices, fearing a conflict with all the other equipment they carried in the line of duty.
Following the shooting incident, the entire West Yorkshire firearms division has now been issued with the body worn cameras.
Scotland Yard follows suit
According to the Daily Mail, all officers from the Metropolitan Police armed response unit will also now be issued with cameras in a move to ensure that the public have faith in the department.
The move was prompted by a report from the Independent Police Complaints Commissions indicating that six fatalities have been recorded over the past year, which is a greater number than in any previous year since records began.
Police-issue cameras can be body worn, such as the examples at https://www.pinnacleresponse.com/, or they may be helmet mounted depending on each force’s preference.
It is hoped that the video evidence they collect will serve to reassure members of the public that armed police are not “trigger happy” and that they only fire when they believe there is a very real threat to members of the public or other police officers.