London Metropolitan Police body cams to store video in Azure

Dave W. Shanahan

Microsoft, Azure Data Centers

In partnership with Microsoft, London’s Metropolitan Police (Met Police) force will use Azure to store all police officers’ body camera footage. Azure will store the millions of hours of body cam footage from police forces from more than 30 London boroughs. In October 2016, the Met Police started using body cameras on their officers to automatically record footage to help with documenting crime scenes, support effective criminal prosecutions, and help with other police complaints.

London hopes the new partnership with Microsoft will help provide secure storage of the sensitive body cam footage and also improve efficiency. At the moment, London police resources are being over-utilized to process the amount of video on-premises. The body cameras, referred to as Body-Worn Video (BWV) devices, are about the size of a deck of cards and is attached to the officer’s body vest and records the officer’s entire shift, not just when the officer is dispatched.

Met Police superintendent Adrian Hutchinson is impressed with Microsoft Azure and hopes the partnership provides a safer environment for their officers and London’s citizens.

“The Met has selected Microsoft Azure as we believe their UK data residency and transparency around secure data management offers both the public and the Police service reassurance that this technology is being used effectively to support the prosecution of offenders, the safeguarding of information and build confidence in policing.”

Nicola Hodson, marketing general manager at Microsoft UK, is excited for the expansion of the Azure platform in the UK.

“We are delighted that the Metropolitan Police Service has recognized that Microsoft’s UK data centres and Azure platform are the perfect enablers of this service and we look forward to supporting the expansion of this scheme, which has the real potential to reduce crime across the London area. When it comes to collecting evidence via BWV that will help safeguard the public and protect our police forces, the need to store masses of information securely yet ensure it is accessible by authorised personnel is paramount.”

In September 2016, London Metroplitan Police used the BMV devices as part of a pilto program. In that period, London police saw a 93% drop in the number of complaints against police when they were wearing BWV devices. The BWV footage will be stored in one of the three UK datacenters in London, Cardiff and Durham.

In September 2016, Microsoft announced Azure support for UK’s Ministry of Defense, as well as adding Office 365 support to UK datacenters.