Police Scotland's Use of Body Worn Video: Public Consultation

Closed 6 Sep 2021

Opened 1 Jun 2021

Feedback updated 28 Feb 2022

We asked

Between June and September 2021, Police Scotland launched the second phase of their “Use of Body Worn Video” public engagement. This survey was intended to help shape Body Worn Video use by our police officers, operational staff and special constables when interacting with the public.

The purpose of the survey was to understand public views relating to the use of Body Worn Video, including any impact this might have for the public and police officers. It also aimed to help us understand any reservations the public might have relating to Body Worn Video and how we might introduce this alongside our broader Contact and Engagement Strategy, ensuring that we build both trust and confidence in Police Scotland.

We also conducted a number of focus groups with a range of relevant organisations and individuals, including women’s support organisations, asylum seekers, refugees and young people. This ensured they were involved in decision making process.

All of this was done with the aim of enabling an effective approach which puts human rights and the views and needs of individuals and communities at the heart of what we do.

You said

Our survey received 9,310 responses from individuals and organisations.

Responses highlighted clear support for Body Worn Video: 

  • The majority (82%, with 54% strongly agree, 28% agree) supporting the use of Body Worn Video by police officers, operational staff and special constables when engaged in police activities.
  • Most also agreed that the use of Body Worn Video would increase their feelings of trust (85%) and confidence (84%) in Police Scotland.
  • 71% of respondents agreed they would “always” feel safer knowing that their interaction with Police Scotland was being recorded by Body Worn Video, whilst 13% said they would feel safer “often”, and 8% said “sometimes”.
  • Most (77%) agreed with the use of clear guidelines for when Body Worn Video should be switched on and 61% disagreed that police officers, staff and special constables should be able to decide when Body Worn video is or is not used.

Focus groups highlighted general support for Body Worn Video, with participants discussing benefits of its use (for example, deterring crime). The need for clear guidelines was also emphasised by focus group participants, in addition to the need for transparency in Body Worn Video and footage use, so that the public can hold Police Scotland to account. The safety of victims, survivors of serious offences and witnesses of crime was also emphasised, suggesting situations where the use of Body Worn Video may not be appropriate. This shows that there needs to be balanced protocols which set out the control officers, staff and special constables have when using Body Worn Video devices.

We did

Your views have informed the decision making process, including helping to shape the development of our Code of Practice, as we move forward to the next steps. If funding is available in the future, the ability to issue Body Worn Video to police officers, operational police staff and special constables across Scotland, in a way that has been informed by meaningful public engagement, is something we're very proud of - thank you for taking part. 


Thank you for taking the time to contribute to this consultation. Your views are important to us. We will be open and transparent in publishing the findings and how feedback has informed decisions and actions.

We are seeking views to help shape the use of Body Worn Video by our police officers, staff and special constables when interacting with the public. The reasons for using Body Worn Video by Police Scotland to record interactions with the public include:

•            improve the quality of interactions with the public;

•            reduce and resolve complaints;

•            increase officer safety;

•            reduce delays to justice; and

•            lead to greater public transparency.

This survey is the second of its kind. The first survey was undertaken in February 2021 to inform the introduction of Body Worn Video for armed police officers. More information, including a summary of the feedback received, can be found on Police Scotland's Engagement Hub.

This survey forms part of a 12-week public consultation to enable a conversation on the national roll-out of Body Worn Video to all operational police officers, staff and special constables in Scotland, as funding will allow.

In addition to this survey, the consultation will involve qualitative engagement (including informed discussions and focus groups) with our stakeholders, partners, and Scotland's diverse communities to understand the views and circumstances of different groups in more depth.

The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete.

Complete the survey in a different way

BSL users can complete the survey here.

This survey is available in a version that is easier to read. If you need this version, see the links section at the bottom of this page.

Please let us know if you want to complete the survey in a different way (for example, over the phone): consultations@scotland.pnn.police.uk.

Reporting a crime or providing information about an incident

Please note that this platform is not for reporting crime, providing information about an incident, or asking us for help. To find out ways to contact the police, please visit our website. If you or someone else needs urgent police assistance, please dial 999 immediately.

Your personal information 

All personal information will be anonymised and you will not be identified through the information you provide unless you choose to identify yourself in your responses.

Police Scotland is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. We have robust procedures in place to ensure that any data that you provide is processed and stored securely. We will never pass your data on to any third parties without your express consent. We also meet the requirements of the Data Protection Act 2018 (General Data Protection Regulation or 'GDPR').

Further information

For further relevant information including research evidence and evaluation of Body Worn Video in policing, see the links below.

If you have questions

If you have any questions, please email: consultations@scotland.pnn.police.uk. 


Why your views matter

It is important to us that we engage and involve individuals, communities, and our partners to gain their confidence in how we use technology and continue to police by consent. Engagement on Body Worn Video is designed to ensure ethical and privacy considerations that are integral to policing and protection are embedded into every aspect of the service.

We understand there are different views and individual circumstances in ensuring Body Worn Video is used in appropriate and supportive ways for the communities we serve.  This consultation aims to gather these views and the level of public support for the national roll-out of Body Worn Video in Scotland.

The consultation findings will be reported to the Independent Advisory Group on Emerging Technologies in Policing for the Cabinet Secretary for Justice, in supporting the ethical and legal considerations of Police Scotland's use of Body Worn Video in operational policing and ensuring this is compatible with human rights, other applicable legislation and best practice. 


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