(Derry Now)

Prison officers will soon wear Body Worn Cameras to help improve safety in Northern Ireland prisons, the Justice Minister, Claire Sugden, said today.

Making the announcement, Minister Sugden said: “Since becoming Minister I have been determined to ensure that prison officers have all the support required to do their job safely and effectively.

“Following a successful pilot by the Northern Ireland Prison Service of the use of Body Worn Cameras in high risk areas in the prison estate; I asked for further work to examine how they could be deployed further.

“I am pleased to announce that this work is now complete and before the end of March, Body Worn Cameras will be available for deployment in all areas of the three prison establishments in Northern Ireland.

“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.”

Assessment of the pilot scheme suggests Body Worn Cameras could be used to promote reassurance, modify behaviour, prevent harm and deter prisoners from committing breaches of prison rules as well as providing evidential quality video and audio recordings.