Police forces are rapidly adopting body worn video (BWV) cameras with as many as 59,000 expected to be in use by the end of 2016/17 – according to chair of the police BWV user group Stephen Goodier.
Goodier, who is also BWV programme manager, Hampshire Police, said as many as three-quarters of forces are in the process of deploying the kit on a large scale.
It is hoped that the cameras are to be used to interview suspects at crime scenes rather than arresting them and taking them into a police station.
However, Goodier said legislation will need to be changed first.
"That has the potential to make us more efficient – rather than arresting a vulnerable person and having to take them into the station. It's not about taking away anyone's liberty, all their rights and entitlements would be exactly the same."
He said the Home Office is currently in a period of consultation over the proposals.
The biggest deal so far has been with the Metropolitan Police, which signed a contract for 22,000 cameras with US firm Taser. The force will be storing its data within the force's own data centres.
Greater Manchester Police also recently signed a contract with Taser for 3,000 cameras, and will use UK cloud supplier Skyscape to store the data, said Goodier.
Other deployments in progress include a roll-out of 2,300 cameras between Avon, Somerset and Wiltshire; 1,300 in Hertfordshire; 2,000 in Kent and Essex; and more than 3,000 across the East Midlands.
Goodier said many forces are considering cloud storage options.
"BWV is just one form of digital evidence. Our infrastructure needs to support everything else: Automatic Number Plate Recognition data, police and local authority access to CCTV, and 999 calls."
Taser is understood to have the largest number of cameras in use, mainly due to the sizeable Met contract. However, British company Reveal Media has a contract with Hampshire police, who signed a deal for 2,800 units with the company, according to Goodier.
Meanwhile the Police Service for Northern Ireland is deploying 3,000 cameras with Scottish biz EdeSix. ®