It's a real-life Crimewatch as police uniforms get spy cameras

SPY cameras are to be fitted to the uniforms of Scottish police officers for the first time, in a new hi-tech initiative in the fight against crime.

The cameras will be in open view on the uniforms or body armour of officers on patrol and will be used to gather evidence to help secure convictions.

Initially, recorded footage taken by the CCTV cameras will be downloaded to a computer, but SCS Security Design, the company behind the scheme, is developing software that will allow images from the cameras to be beamed back live to the force's CCTV control room.

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The small devices are to be worn by officers from the western division of Tayside Police, as part of a trial involving the force and the Perth-based security company.

Two years ago, Tayside Police became the first force in Scotland to trial a digital CCTV system that had been fitted to the bikes of cycle patrol officers operating in Perth. That system was also developed by SCS Security Design, part of the Scottish Communications Group.

Chief Superintendent Matt Hamilton, who is in charge of policing in Perth,

said: "Fixed CCTV cameras are an integral part of today's society and the benefits of their use have been shown on countless occasions to assist in the capture and conviction of offenders.

"Both the mobile CCTV van and the CCTV cameras used by our cycle patrol officers have contributed significantly to lower crime levels and brought safer communities to the people of Perth and Kinross.

"Body-worn digital recording systems, such as this new camera technology we will be trialling here in Perth, are a way of equipping officers with modern technology to obtain high quality primary evidence, which will assist in the investigation of crime and presentation of cases in court."

He went on: "Once the footage has been recorded, the officer returns to the station, plugs in the hard drive and, whilst charging, the encrypted images are also downloading to a stand-alone system.

"It is vital that we utilise new technology to make sure we are on the cutting edge of crime fighting.

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"This new technology will not only allow officers the opportunity to start recording evidence as soon as they come across an incident, but it will also help to ensure crimes are solved and also reach conviction.

"We will not accept crime in Perth and Kinross and, whilst the overall crime rate is falling, we will continue to use new technology and work with our partners to help reduce crime rates even further."

A spokeswoman for Tayside Police said there should be no barriers to using the evidence gathered through the new CCTV cameras in court.

She said: "We already use pictures from our static CCTV cameras in court, and this is just another extension of the existing CCTV network."

Paul Gibson, the managing director of SCS Security Design, said: "We are very excited to have been working with both Tayside Police and an Edinburgh-based electronics firm in developing this product over the last year, and we are immensely proud that it is not only a Scottish design and build, but will also be trialled in Scotland with our local police force."


TAYSIDE Police became the first force in Scotland to test a digital CCTV system fitted to the bikes of cycle patrol officers. It was introduced in Perth in November, 2006.

The system enabled officers to record events and incidents in areas where there were no other cameras in operation.

It has been used to allow officers to instantly record acts of vandalism, anti-social behaviour, and other crimes or incidents that they come across.

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The small digital system is fitted into the pannier on the side of the bike, with the camera attached to the handlebars.

The equipment has since been used at large events such as T in the Park, public processions and football matches.

SCS Security Design is the security division of the Perth-based Scottish Communications Group, which was formed in 1979 and which has grown to be one of the UK's leading independent security companies.

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