In response to rising levels of prison violence, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) piloted the use of Body Worn Video Cameras (BWVCs) across 23 prisons in England and Wales. This research reports on the evaluation of this pilot and provides recommendations for further camera use.
HMPPS commissioned the Violence Reduction Project, with the aim of reducing levels of assaults against staff and prisoners. Findings from international research suggest that use of cameras can lower rates of assaults in prisons, by increasing accountability and transparency, reducing staff reporting workloads, enhancing evidentiary capability and acting as a potential behaviour change mechanism. As such, HMPPS piloted the use of Body Worn Video Cameras (BWVCs) to investigate how their use might serve to keep staff and residents safe in the prisons of England and Wales.
Six hundred BWVCs were deployed to 23 establishments across the prison estate to pilot
and evaluate their effect on prison violence. The pilot of BWVCs ran from June 2015 to
December 2015. Survey data was gathered in June 2015 (pre-pilot) and December 2015
(post-pilot). Fieldwork for some aspects of the research continued until April 2016. Data used for the impact evaluation was gathered from December 2014 to February 2016. The research team evaluated the impact of BWVCs on assault and use of force rates, as well as their perceived impact on relationships, safety and fair treatment. The project also considered how BWVCs could be used in staff training and disciplinary proceedings. The project involved 2,800 responses from staff and 800 from prisoners through their contributions to interviews, surveys and action research.
The full report can be read here; Body Worn Video Camera (BWVC) Pilot Evaluation