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TOWN COPS BECOME WALKING CCTV CAMERAS

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Hi-tech equipment is being used to help front line police officers in the fight against crime and antisocial behavi...
Hi-tech equipment is being used to help front line police officers in the fight against crime and antisocial behaviour in Newcastle-Under-Lyme.

A set of 10 headcams have been purchased after the Safer Communities Partnership successfully secured£18,000 of government funding. The sophisticated equipment is now being used by police officers in Newcastle town centre with dramatic results.

The equipment is fitted to a headband which fits underneath an officers' helmet. The small, cigar shaped camera connects to a miniature computer, comprising a hard drive and monitor, which attaches to their belts.

Material gathered by the equipment - which can be turned on and off when the officer requires it - is of exceptionally high quality and evidence captured on film by the police can be used in court for prosecutions. Officers who carry the headcams will wear armbands to make it apparent to the public they have the equipment on.

Newcastle Safer Communities Partnership secured the funding for the equipment from a capital allocation via the government's alcohol misuse enforcement campaign.

Glennis Deakin, the BC's cabinet member responsible for community safety, said: 'These pieces of equipment are state-of-the-art and the partnership believes they will have a significant impact on crime and disorder.

'We have always said that we will use every means at our disposal to stop the small minority of people who come into Newcastle town centre and break the law. All the agencies involved in the Safer Communities Partnership are determined in their efforts to ensure Newcastle is an environment where people can come and enjoy themselves in safety, whether that is during the day or at night.'

Inspector Jeff Moore, commander of Newcastle Police, said: 'We have only just begun using these headcams but they have already had a significant impact.

'One officer in one evening witnessed an assault in the town centre and managed to capture vital evidence on film; at a second assault the officer used the camera to gather information on the extent of a victim's injuries; evidence of a breach of licensing was collected after a premises was witnessed serving after hours and young people immediately stopped their antisocial behaviour when they realised there was a possibility they would be filmed and evidence gathered for possible prosecution.

'We have been very encouraged by the early use of the headcams and will now start using the 10 sets of equipment on a more regular and widespread basis.'

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