Durham police body cameras issued to Specials and PCSOs

Insp Simon Orton with body camera The cameras are about the size of a thumb

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Body cameras are to be issued to special constables and police community support officers across County Durham to help record evidence.

The thumb-sized devices are already being used by regular officers after a successful pilot in Bishop Auckland.

Police and crime commissioner Ron Hogg said they "promote public reassurance, capture best evidence, prevent harm and deter people from committing crime".

Footage can be used in the event of a prosecution.

Mr Hogg said recording in this way meant police did not have to rely so heavily on getting evidence from people reluctant to attend court and that it also had an impact on officers' "professionalism".

The cameras have a deterrent effect on behaviour, reduce time spent investigating complaints and protected against malicious complaints and physical violence, the force said.

Ch Supt Graham Hall said footage often prompted early guilty pleas from offenders, for example "those captured during public order incidents where their behaviour can clearly be seen on the footage".

Durham Police said it had been one of the first to issue all front-line staff with the cameras.

The force will now have 700 of the devices in use, each costing a "relatively cheap" £45, it said.

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