Disclosure Details

Body worn cameras - 1289/16

Dated: 15 Dec 2016

Provision of information held by Northumbria Police made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the 'Act' 

Thank you for your e mail dated 18 November 2016 in which you made a request for access to certain information which may be held by Northumbria Police.

As you may be aware the purpose of the Act is to allow a general right of access to information held at the time of a request, by a Public Authority (including the Police), subject to certain limitations and exemptions. 

You asked: 

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, please provide the following information pertaining to the use of body-worn videos (BWVs), also known as body-cams, by your Force.

1.    Use

1.1.  Does your Force make use of BWV?

1.2.  When did your Force begin to use BWV

1.3.  Do you have plans in place to begin to use BWV?


2.    Stock

2.1.  The number of BWVs owned

2.2.  The number of BWVs in operational use

2.3.  Whether plans are in situ to invest in a greater number of BWVs. If applicable, how many and when.


3.    Policy and training

3.1.  The specific Force policy for BWVs. Please provide the necessary policy document.

3.2.  Force policy for which officers are required to wear and operate BWVs. Please provide the necessary policy document.

3.3.  Details of the training given to officers on BWVs. Please provide details of duration and frequency of training.


4.    Technical information

4.1.  Manufacturer details/ model of BWVs owned

4.2.  The software used to transfer and view footage from BWVs to a computer 

4.3.  The position on the body that an officer is to wear a BWV


5.    Transfer and retention of footage

5.1.  The form and degree of encryption used on the BWV files. Please provide :-        encryption algorithm details        key length (if any)        and/or version of software used for encryption

5.2.  The duration for which BWV footage is typically retained on computer before a decision regarding deletion or retention is made

5.3.   The process by which footage is deleted  e.g. by a manual process or by specialist software        The process by which footage is tagged for deletion        The process by which footage is tagged for retention        The decision maker as to whether footage is to be deleted or retained 

6.    Complaints

For the period 1 January 2010 to 18 November 2016:

6.1.  The number of complaints made to your force from members of the public concerning the use of BWVs

6.2.  If applicable, the natures of these complaints e.g. malfunction, inappropriate usage, DPA issues, confrontations not recorded etc. 

We have now had the opportunity to fully consider your request and I provide a response for your attention. 

Following receipt of your request, searches were conducted with the ICT, Professional Standards and the Prosecution and Victims Services Departments of Northumbria Police. I can confirm that the information you have requested is held by Northumbria Police. 

I am able to disclose the located information to you as follows. 

1. Use

1.1.  Yes

1.2. Limited use evaluation trials from November 2013

        Live force wide use from April 2016

1.3. Not applicable. 

2.    Stock

2.1.  305 

2.2.  305 

2.3.   Yes, 60 additional BWV cameras.  November 2016 

3.    Policy and training

3.1. See attached

3.2.   As above

3.3.   Training has been provided to system users, both operational and back-office.

Single Points of Contact (SPOC’s) on each team were identified and trained in the management and usage of the system.  This has been cascaded to other users. The training consisted of a bespoke PowerPoint package and a practical demonstration of each device and the software, where appropriate. 

4.    Technical information

4.1.  Edesix VB-200

        Edesix VB-300 

4.2.  Edesix VideoManager 

4.3.  Officers - Chest (left or right side)

        Firearms Officers - Head 

Regarding, and We will not be providing the information requested at these parts of your application and in witholding will rely on the following exemption. 

Section 31 (1) Law enforcement

Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act

would or would be likely to, prejudice- 

a) the prevention and detection of crime 

b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders

c) the administration of justice

(2) the purposes referred to in subsections a,b, and c are 

a)  the purpose of ascertaining whether any person has failed to comply with the law, 

b) the purpose of ascertaining whether any person is responsible for any conduct which is improper 

c) the purpose of ascertaining whether circumstances which would justify regulatory action in pursuance of any enactment exists or may arise

Section 31 is a qualified exemption and requires the application of a Harm and public interest test which I have set out below.

Harm Test

The disclosure of information security systems and software may lead to the identification of security weaknesses which could assist individuals in mounting attacks on force systems. 

Identifying the specific systems and versions thereof employed by Northumbria Police could allow hackers to concentrate their efforts and exploit any know flaws or vulnerability which may exist within those systems. 

Many Police forces have been subject to DOS attacks and website defacements which indicate that hackers are making efforts to attack and gain entry to force systems leading to the failure of all or part of those systems or the unauthorised disclosure of confidential material. 

Public interest Test 

Factors favouring disclosure

To disclose the information requested would demonstrate to the public that the force operates systems which are recent and able to cope with the demands made on them by the pressures of modern policing. This in turn supports the operations of officers on the ground.

Disclosure of the information may show that the force uses systems which record  information which is then held securely and only released under appropriate circumstances. 

As outlined in the previous two factors the use of efficient systems for command and control and information storage increase the effectiveness of the force which in turn supports and improves public safety. 

Factors favouring non-disclosure

Release of the information may lead to attacks on force systems which would compromise the operation of the organisation and may in extreme circumstances cause a failure of all the operating systems. 

The risk that information that has been gathered by the force may cease to be secure from access from outside sources will restrict the organisations ability to gather information and intelligence. 

Release of information which may allow hackers to access systems used by Northumbria Police would hamper ongoing investigations where information stored in relation to specific suspects may be accessed and those persons were then alerted and thereby avoided arrest. 

Balancing Test

In this case the Public Interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.  It is not sufficient that information will be of interest to the public; its release must be beneficial to the community as a whole.The risk of undermining IT support systems can not be seen to be in the public interest. 

You should consider this to be a refusal under section 17 of the Act for the information requested at questions, and

We can advise that the  Information Security Officer risk assessed the BWV devices and operating procedures as "Secure". 

5.2.   31 days 

5.3.  Automated by specialist software and hardware.  Not applicable, footage is tagged for retention not deletion.  Untagged footage is automatically deleted after 31 days.  Footage deemed evidential is tagged by the Officer In Charge with an incident number or other metadata tags.  If tagged, the footage is transferred to the Digital Evidence Management system and retained.  Officer In Charge 

6. The following information has been extracted from a ‘live’ database and may be subject to the addition and deletion of complaints, complainants and subjects after the initial extraction of data used for the purposes of this request.

Data has been checked for allegations recorded between 01/01/2010 and 18/11/2016 for complaints relating to the use of Body Worn Cameras, including any allegation summary which included the any of the words; “BWC, BWV, Body, worn, footage, filming, picture, video, camera, and image”.

Total number of complaints for the period 2010 to 2016 is  2.

The nature of the complaints were as follows:  1 x Inappropriate use, 1 x Confrontation not recorded.   

Due to the different methods of recording information across 43 forces, a specific response from one constabulary should not be seen as an indication of what information could be supplied (within cost) by another.  Systems used for recording these figures are not generic, nor are the procedures used locally in capturing the data.  For this reason responses between forces may differ, and should not be used for comparative purposes. 

The information we have supplied to you is likely to contain intellectual property rights of Northumbria Police.  Your use of the information must be strictly in accordance with the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended) or such other applicable legislation.  In particular, you must not re-use this information for any commercial purpose.



FOI 1289-16 Policy