'Lack of consistency' in Taser police wearing bodycams

A new survey exposes the "complete lack of consistency" among police forces in the deployment of body cameras to officers armed with Tasers.

Despite top police officers describing the devices as "effective" and "vital" to modern policing, many forces have not completed a full roll-out, and at least one has no current plans to adopt the cameras.

A survey by the Press Association of the UK's 45 forces reveals a disjointed approach to equipping officers with body-worn video (BWV).

The problem has been highlighted after the death of former football star Dalian Atkinson, who was Tasered on August 15.

Dalian Atkinson was Tasered in August Credit: PA

A criminal investigation is under way, but following his death it emerged that officers from West Mercia Police who were involved were not equipped with BWV.

The Home Office and the National Police Chiefs' Council have said that using BWVs is an "operational" decision for each individual force.

But Keith Vaz, the chairman of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said the "complete lack of consistency" across forces should "raise alarm bells", particularly in light of Mr Atkinson's death.

Fabian Atkinson, nephew of Dalian Atkinson Credit: PA

The ex-Aston Villa player's nephew Fabian Atkinson has said that wearing bodycams should be standard, following the death of his uncle.

He said: "If [police] have a weapon and they're going to discharge that weapon, then they need a camera to record that."

Keith Vaz said inconsistency should 'raise alarm bells' Credit: PA

Mr Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East, said: "The complete lack of consistency in the various police forces' approach to body-worn cameras and Taser should raise alarm bells following the tragic death of Dalian Atkinson.

"In the light of recent events, the Home Office must take action to ensure there is a far more co-ordinated national approach to the use of Tasers, which should be treated with the same respect as firearms.

"It isn't right that crossing an arbitrary border within the UK would present you with completely separate policies on the use of potentially deadly weapons."

A Home Office spokesman said: "Body-worn video can be a powerful tool and we fully support exploiting new technology to help cut crime wherever possible."