Body-worn cameras to increase safety in Province’s prisons

Justice Minister Claire Sugden and Austin Treacy, governor, HMP Magilligan, view the new body worn camera on a prison officer
Justice Minister Claire Sugden and Austin Treacy, governor, HMP Magilligan, view the new body worn camera on a prison officer

By March prison officers will be kitted out with body-worn cameras to help improve safety in Northern Ireland prisons, the justice minister has confirmed.

Claire Sugden said that following a successful pilot in high-risk areas of NI prisons, 57 body-worn camera would be available for deployment before the end of March in all areas of the Province’s three prison establishments.

“I believe this is a significant and important step in ensuring that prison officers have the right tools to perform their difficult and challenging role and will contribute to a safer prison environment for both staff and prisoners,” she said.

A limited pilot of body-worn cameras was conducted to assess their suitability for wider deployment.

The objective of the trial period was to establish if the effective use of body-worn video cameras could promote reassurance, modify behaviour, prevent harm and deter prisoners from committing offences against prison rules as well as providing evidential quality video and audio recordings.

The pilot found that the cameras had a positive impact in the trial areas with a marked change in prisoner attitude and behaviour.