The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has announced it will use Microsoft’s recently opened UK data centres to store data gathered from its fleet of body-worn cameras.
The Met is currently rolling out 22,000 body-worn cameras as part of a £3.4m deployment. It claims the devices will help reduce the time it takes to secure convictions by providing more clear-cut evidence of situations they attend.
Currently, 3,500 cameras have been deployed, with 7,000 likely to be in the field by February and the full 22,000 in use by July 2017.
Met Police superintendent Adrian Hutchinson explained to V3 that the force chose to use Microsoft’s new centres because it helps them meet their data storage requirements.
“We wanted to store the data in the UK so we can provide transparency around our data and where it is kept, and Microsoft is a long-term trusted supplier to the Met,” he said.
“We have extensive data security requirements and they [Microsoft] satisfied all our necessary audits and we have no concerns.”
Hutchinson added that the deal was especially favourable as the force’s supplier of the body-worn cameras, Axon Taser, also had a relationship with Microsoft around storing the data its tools gather, so it made it an easy
“It means we are dealing with just one or two companies for the technology, rather than storing it ourselves and having to deal with a plethora of contractors, that is not the direction we want to go in so this is a lot more straightforward.”
No financial information was given about the deal, but Hutchinson did say it was “beneficial” financial arrangement and that he believes the met has got “the right deal for the UK tax payer”.
Every officer is required to upload the footage they capture and retain it for 31 days after which it is deleted unless the office specifies that it should be kept for a longer time period if it is deemed relevant to a case.
“It requires a positive action to retain it and that’s important…otherwise everything is deleted within 31 days and that’s in line with best practice around retaining this type of information.”
Currently, officers have to return to a station to upload the footage, via a dedicated docking unit the cameras work with, but Hutchinson said he believes in the future footage could be uploaded while out on patrol.
“I think we will see officers uploading from the field, so they become far more mobilised, so the office becomes anywhere where they find themselves working.”
This could certainly become more commonplace in the future as EE becomes the supplier of the Emergency Service Network (ESN) that will include access to its 4G services.
Hutchinson added that, while the cameras are primarily used for evidence gathering purposes, they also have huge potential for providing ongoing officer training and development.
“It’s a great way to provide feedback to officers so they can ask, ‘have I done that stop and search well, have I dealt that that domestic abuse incident correctly’ and continue to improve.”
V3 also asked Hutchinson if there was any update on the Met’s migration from Windows XP, given that thousands of machines are running the outdated Windows platform.
He declined to comment but we have contacted the Met’s press team for more information.
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