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Cop cams puzzle

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By Lisa Barbour
Annan and Eskdale
Cop cams puzzle

COP cams that were introduced on the beat across Annandale and Eskdale only two months ago have been withdrawn by Police Scotland — against the wishes of local officers.

The bodyworn CCTV cameras, which were mounted on officers chests, had been used in Annan, Gretna and Langholm to record evidence of crimes while also providing more security for the police and public.

But a source revealed to the Observer this week that the devices have been recalled by senior bosses, with suggestions they may be rolled out in the Central Belt instead.

They said: “It’s rumoured they’ve been called back as somebody in Police Scotland believes the officers down here do not have the proper permissions.

“They’ve been used in different parts of the country for different reasons for years though and it’s more likely that Police Scotland feel they can be better utilised in the cities rather than rural Dumfries and Galloway.

“These were devices that could have enhanced crime prevention in the area but they’ve been withdrawn at one of the busiest times of the year in the build-up to Christmas.”

The small, lightweight cameras, which produce high quality video which can be used in court, were initially introduced in Dumfries and three units were secured for Annandale and Eskdale to assist with tackling anti-social behaviour.

Refuting claims about the necessary permissions, Sergeant Steven Wilson, of Annan Police, says the technology has been used for the past ten years in different parts of the country, as well as at football games and concerts, but until recently they had not been widely deployed in this region.

Commenting on their withdrawal, he said: “Townspeople have been questioning community officers when they are out and about in schools and on the ground as to where the cameras have gone as they were popular and well received in the community.

“Whilst it is disappointing they have been withdrawn from use, the reasons for that will have to be conveyed by senior officers in Police Scotland.”

And Annandale South councillor Richard Brodie has also hit out at the termination of the scheme, which he said provided a great source of protection for the police and public.

He added: “The suggestion that the cameras have been withdrawn to be used elsewhere frankly stinks – it’s just another example of how little thought is given by the central authorities to our local area.

“It also shows once again that Police Scotland is completely unaccountable to anyone and the Scottish Government has a lot to answer for.”

Police Scotland were yet to respond to enquiries at the time of going to print.


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