IL PSNI SI ‘ARMA’ DI TELECAMERE

Oggi a Lisburn, è stata ufficialmente introdotta la nuova arma del PSNI, nella lotta contro la criminalità: una telecamera montata sull’uniforme.
In realtà il suo utilizzo sperimentale è iniziato qualche mese fa nell’area di Carrickfergus.
“Si spera che il sistema sarà poi esteso a tutti i distretti di polizia dell’intera Irlanda del Nord”, ha dichiarato Basil McCrea, membro dell’UUP Policing Board .
Non si tratta di una nuova tecnologia, perchè è già in dotazione alle forze stanziate nel resto del Regno Unito.
Gli agenti di polizia sono stati addrestati all’utilizzo del dispositivo soprattutto in caso di arresti e in altre situazioni potenzialmente violente.
Il PSNI e i membri del Policing Board sperano così di poter raccogliere elementi di prova di alta qualità, in ambito di abusi domestici e in casi di comportamento anti-sociale.
“Questo è un modo per dotare i funzionari di moderne tecnologie di elevata qualità, al fine di ottenere elementi di prova da impiegare nelle indagini sulla criminalità e nella presentazione dei casi in tribunale”.
Le telecamere possono essere collegate all’uniforme e quindi al corpo dell’agente, al casco o ad altri accessori e potranno essere utilizzate solo da funzionari che non siano in borghese e secondo le rigide regole stabilite dal regolamento che circonda l’utilizzo di questo genere di apparecchiature.
Il PSNI auspica anche uno snellimento dei tempi di raccolta dati, visto che in questo modo potrebbero essere tratti dai video e non da verbali redatti a mano.
L’utilizzo delle telecamere, avrà una duplice funzione. Oltre ad essere un’arma contro la criminalità, potrebbe rappresentare un valido metodo per  valutare l’effettivo comportamento degli ufficiali di polizia quando si rapportano con membri della comunità, in particolare nelle situazioni difficili, come il noto e controverso caso in cui venne impiegato il Taser.  La vittima fu un uomo, che stando al rapporto del PSNI, si era arreso dopo essersi barricato in casa per ore con i propri figli minacciando la loro incolumità. Accusa da cui Declan Smith, 38 anni, venne successivamente assolto. E’ stato proprio in relazione a questo caso giudiziario che nei giorni scorsi il Police Ombudsman ha definito come ‘giustificato’ l’utilizzo del Taser.

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PSNI go on patrol wearing cameras (Belfast Telegraph)
Police will today unveil their latest weapon in the battle against violent crime — officers with evidence-gathering video cameras mounted on their uniforms.
Officers have been trained to use the equipment in potentially violent situations and while making arrests to help them to record and deal quickly with crime and anti-social behaviour.
The technology, which was due to be launched by the PSNI in Lisburn today, is already being used by a number of forces across the UK.
The PSNI and Policing Board members hope that the equipment will help officers gather high quality evidence, particularly in domestic abuse and anti-social behaviour cases.
The video cameras can be attached to a police officer’s body armour, cycle helmet or other accessories.
They will be used openly by officers in uniform and strict rules and regulations will surround the use of this type of recording equipment.
It is thought the cameras could also help reduce bureaucracy with officers not having to spend as much time writing long statements when they can refer to the video footage.
The scheme was piloted in Carrickfergus earlier this year and was to be rolled out in the Lisburn area today.
“It is hoped the scheme will then be expanded to all police districts across Northern Ireland.
UUP Policing Board member Basil McCrea said: “This is a way of equipping officers with modern technology to obtain high quality evidence which will assist in the investigation of crime and presentation of cases in court.
“It should be seen as an additional tool in the fight against crime. It is a useful tool which ensures those who are guilty of crime and anti-social behaviour do not escape justice.
“I really think they are a great idea and I have been pushing for this for a long time. I think they will be particularly useful in domestic violence cases and cases where someone is reluctant to give evidence as the cameras will be able to pick up evidence.”
Mr McCrea said he believes the cameras could also provide an opportunity to assess the conduct of police officers when dealing with the public, particularly in difficult situations such as the Taser incident in Londonderry last year when police used the weapon on a father-of-two.
Specialist PSNI officers used a Taser gun to subdue 38-year-old Declan Smith, of Elaghmore Park after receiving a report in the early hours of the morning that he had locked himself in a house and was threatening to kill himself and his two young children — charges he was later acquitted of in court. He was tasered after emerging from the property following three hours of negotiations. The officer who discharged the weapon said he felt it was necessary to stop the situation escalating.
Smith disagreed saying he felt his civil rights were taken away and he was unjustly tasered. The Police Ombudsman, however, said the response was justified and proportionate,
“This is the sort of case where the cameras would come in very useful. Officers would be able to show on camera the type of situation they were faced with and their response to it,” said Mr McCrea.
“As well as helping to gather evidence these cameras will help keep an eye on how police interact with the public.”
The Police Federation said it is aware of the scheme.
“It is an officer safety issue,” a spokesman said.

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