Can Body Worn Videos be used to record interviews?

16 August 2017

Not reviewed after the date of publication

Question:

Can Body Worn Video cameras be used to record suspect interviews under PACE?

Answer:

The guidance on Body Worn Video (BWV) by the College of Policing suggests that Body Worn Video should not normally be used for interviews:

"PACE Code C deals with the treatment of persons in custody and interviewing offenders and suspects. Save for exceptional circumstances, Code C requires that suspects are interviewed at police stations. Using BWV for this purpose is likely to circumvent the provisions of Code C and is, therefore, not allowed."

The document also provides examples when BWV could exceptionally be used, e.g. when dealing with certain victims with their consent, but only to a limited extent, see page 18 of the above document. In principle, however, see section 6 – principle 6, the guidance advises that BWV does not replace conventional forms of evidence gathering such as written statements and PACE interviews, but supports them. That section also lists the limitations of BWV and when it should not be used, especially for interviewing suspects as it would contravene PACE Code C. Please also refer to the 'CPS view' (page 30).

See also the position of the Independent Police Complaints Commission on Body Worn Video.

Links to further guidance, including technical guidance can be found in the notes at the bottom of section 7 of the CCTV Code of Practice on PNLD and on the website of the Information Commissioner's Office.

While PACE and the codes of practice do not as such prohibit the use of body worn video to record interviews, the requirements set out in legislation and codes would have to be complied with when using such equipment which might sometimes present difficulties, see the guidance above, Code of Practice C and Code of Practice F.

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