Prison officers will soon wear Body Worn Cameras to help improve safety in Northern Ireland prisons, the Justice Minister, Claire Sugden, said today.
Making the announcement, Minister Sugden said, “Since becoming Minister I have been determined to ensure that prison officers have all the support required to do their job safely and effectively. Following a successful pilot by the Northern Ireland Prison Service of the use of Body Worn Cameras in high risk areas in the prison estate; I asked for further work to examine how they could be deployed further.
“I am pleased to announce that this work is now complete and before the end of March, Body Worn Cameras will be available for deployment in all areas of the three prison establishments in Northern Ireland.
“I believe this is a significant and important step in ensuring that prison officers have the right tools to perform their difficult and challenging role and will contribute to a safer prison environment for both staff and prisoners.”
Assessment of the pilot scheme suggests Body Worn Cameras could be used to promote reassurance, modify behaviour, prevent harm and deter prisoners from committing breaches of prison rules as well as providing evidential quality video and audio recordings.
Notes to editors:
- A limited pilot of body worn cameras was conducted to assess their suitability for wider deployment.
- The objective of the trial period was to establish if the effective use of body worn video cameras could promote reassurance, modify behaviour, prevent harm and deter prisoners from committing offences against prison rules as well as providing evidential quality video and audio recordings.
- The pilot found that these cameras had a positive impact in the trial areas with a marked change in prisoner attitude and behaviour.
- The Northern Ireland Prison Service have carried out a scoping exercise in conjunction with management teams in the three establishments to identify all areas where body worn camera technology could be used and confirm the number of camera units required. The roll out will introduce a further 57 units to be deployed across the prison estate.
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