Dyfed Powys Police Federation secretary Roger Webb says the backing of the Home Secretary will strengthen the campaign to share body-worn video (BWV) footage with the public.
The Federation’s campaign aims to protect officers from ‘trial by social media’ when selected clips of incidents involving the police are posted on the internet.
It follows a rise in the posting of such videos on social media, with the Federation expressing concern about members being subjected to personal abuse because of one-sided films.
“We welcome the support of the Home Secretary for this campaign,” said Roger, “It can only strengthen our calls for body-worn footage to be shared to protect our members.
“These clips often give a distorted view of what has actually happened and are posted on social media, completely out of context, to create a storm and lead to officers being put under trial by social media.
“This can have a huge impact on them as individuals but also serves to undermine public confidence in policing.
“We want to protect our members and feel that, where appropriate, forces should share body-worn video footage that could give a fuller picture.”
Roger’s comments came after national Federation chair John Apter recently raised this topic with the Priti Patel during an exclusive interview for POLICE, the Federation’s magazine.
Ms Patel branded the publicising of unbalanced footage in an attempt to vilify officers as ‘unacceptable’.
As a result, the Home Secretary has now written to Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), encouraging forces to be proactive in considering when BWV footage can be released to demonstrate the good work officers do and to show that selective footage can be misleading.
She said: “It is in this context that I am expressing my support for the Police Federation’s recent campaign to protect officers from unfair criticism via social media.”
The NPCC and the College of Policing have since agreed to begin reviewing BWV guidance with the Federation feeding into the process.
The national Federation chair has welcomed these developments.
John said: “I wrote to the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing saying that, when appropriate and where it is possible, we should release officers’ body-worn video footage. I also raised this directly with the Home Secretary.
“The Home Secretary’s support and the action being taken by the NPCC and College of Policing is very welcome news. This is a step in the right direction, not only to protect my colleagues from unfair social media attacks, but also to protect public confidence in the police.”