PCA backs police station cameras

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The Independent Online
The Police Complaints Authority yesterday called for closed-circuit television cameras to be installed in the custody areas of all police stations to help resolve complaints against officers.

The authority, which published its annual report yesterday, said the use of CCTV may lower the number of deaths in custody, of which there were 46 last year. The PCA said CCTV could remove the need for long, costly investigations by providing conclusive evidence.

A growing number of forces are already using CCTV in stations. In Staffordshire it is fitted in all custody suites, while in London a pilot project is running.

The PCA's acting chairman, Peter Moorhouse, said: "CCTV in custody suites is becoming a must for two reasons. It's a must for the protection of the detained person. And if a police force has a businesslike approach it's a must because it reduces tactical and malicious complaints, and if there are complaints it cuts down the cost of investigating, because much of the evidence will be on video and becomes indisputable."

The PCA said investigations into complaints against Britain's 20,000 voluntary constables, or Specials, should be overseen by the authority rather than the police themselves.

The report also expressed concerns about the presence of cameras and journalists at high-profile raids and reporters obtaining tip-offs about the arrests of celebrities.

It disclosed that the PCA reviewed 4,154 cases during 1994-95, as a result of which 253 formal disciplinary charges were preferred against officers.

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