POLICE officers in the Scottish Borders could soon be wearing Body Worn Video (BWV) cameras on duty after a public consultation on the subject showed overwhelming support.

The cameras are already widely used throughout the United Kingdom including in the North East Division of Scotland.

Police Scotland wanted to find out what the public thought of the use of the technology and launched a further national public engagement exercise.

This included a consultation survey which received over 9,300 responses.

The public were asked a number of questions such as: “Would you feel safer knowing that your interaction with Police Scotland is being recorded by a body worn camera?”

“To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Knowing interactions with the public are recorded would increase my confidence in Police Scotland.”

Findings showed clear support for BWV. 82 per cent support police officers, staff and special constables always wearing BWV when engaged in police activities, 71 per cent of respondents agreed they would “always” feel safer knowing that their interaction with Police Scotland was being recorded by BWV and 84 per cent agreed BWV would increase their confidence in Police Scotland.

In addition to the consultation survey, officers facilitated a series of focus groups in partnership with an external agency.

These took place for key population groups, including: survivors of domestic abuse, people who are black or from minority ethnic communities, refugees and asylum seekers, and care experienced young people; all who have particular needs and we wanted to understand why and how the police could introduce BWV in the future in a way which reflected their needs.

Not all of those who took part in the survey were in favour of BWV however, and participants provided reasons for this.

Everyone’s views were welcomed and valued, and will be integral in forming and establishing a ‘Code of Practice’ for BWV as the project progresses in the future.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We will ensure that our dialogue with the public remains genuine and transparent. This supports us to ensure that future introduction of the technology in more areas of policing remains grounded in our values of integrity, fairness and respect whilst protecting human rights.

“We recognise this is vital to ensure our legitimacy, the bond between the people of Scotland and police, continues as we carry out our duties with the public’s trust and consent.

“We would like to thank everyone who took part; your views were varying and very important and we welcome conversations like these with the communities we serve. Police Scotland recognises and thanks the many organisations and advocates who responded to our public consultation survey and those who supported us in the facilitation of our focus groups.

“Work now progresses to secure funding for the future national rollout of BWV and we will share more information when it becomes available.”