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Brent’s top cop talks about how ‘Head Cams’ can be used to tackle domestic violence

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 October 2013

Matt Gardner, Brent Police Borough Commander

Matt Gardner, Brent Police Borough Commander

GARETH SQUANCE

Every week Chief Superintendent Matt Gardner, Brent Police borough commander writes a column for the Times. This week he speaks about the use of ‘Head Cams’ in the borough.

In June I spoke about domestic violence and how it affects all walks of society. I made reference to the ‘no way out’ belief which many victims either believe or accept, and that many perpetrators rely upon to control and physically and mentally torture victims.

I also updated you on how the Metropolitan Police in Brent have restructured to provide more focus on this crime type, intending to look for new and innovative ways in reducing this crime and bringing perpetrators to justice.

This week I would like to revisit this and update you on these two important points.

Last week, police officers from started to patrol the borough wearing ‘Head Cams’. These are small cameras which are worn on the head which have an audio and video recording facility.

We have deployed these primarily for officers who attend calls form victims of domestic violence. This enables us to accurately record what has taken place at a scene through emotion in the voice and appearance of the victim, or through disturbed or broken items of property, to provide evidence at a scene where a disturbance may have taken place.

This type of evidence is vital in corroborating a victim’s account and in enabling the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue prosecutions either with or without the support of the victim.

We will trial this new technology to understand the impact it has before looking to roll this out further within Brent and beyond.

At the same time, we will continue to work with our partners to identify other technology and activities that we can undertake in support of victims of Domestic Violence.

I also would like to share with you the experience of one of my staff who has suffered many years of horrific instances of domestic violence.

She tells her story, which is truly disturbing, in very graphic detail which you can read about on her blog at http://m.west-midlands.police.uk/np/walsall/findoutmore/da-week.asp.

Significantly she always believed that there was ‘no way out’, so put up with the physical, verbal and mental abuse of her partner.

Fortunately she did find the way out and now advocates that nobody has the right to treat another human being the way that she was treated. She encourages victims to say ‘enough is enough’. Furthermore, she campaigns for victims and continues to fundraise to support charities and organisations involved with domestic violence.

This is a positive story which I hope will give anyone the courage to break the cycle and get out of a turbulent relationship. It reinforces the message that there truly is a way out.

I would like to end with a quote from her blog in which she says, ...”There is no longer no way out, there are many ways, take life with both hands, grab it, hold it, run with it, never look back, do not linger on what has happened, concentrate on what is about to happen.”

Please contact Brent Police Community Safety Unit and partners who will provide you with the support and guidance that you need.

Do not suffer in silence.

They can be reached on 0208 733 3397 or 020 8733 3914.


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