POLICE are giving shopkeepers covert body cameras to help them protect
themselves from racial attacks.
The mini ‘body cams’ are capable of recording incidents at the touch
of a button, and are being issued to victims of hate crimes in the
north of Edinburgh.
The video cameras are the size of a USB stick and can be worn covertly.
Shopkeepers will have to display a sign which informs customers that
CCTV is operating.
They will be offered to local shop staff who have experienced a
traumatic or repeated attacks.
Police issued the first camera last week and will continue to offer
the devices in the city centre and further afield.
Inspector Mark Rennie, of Drylaw Police Station said, “We often find
that store security guards and shop staff receive racist abuse when
they challenge shoplifters or refuse purchases.
“We review every crime that’s reported, if we believe someone is
vulnerable or has been repeatedly attacked we will offer them the use
of these cameras.
“They can record audio, which can help our investigations should an
incident take place because some CCTV cameras do not record sound.
“The cameras can be on the person or close by and is they feel
threatened they can press a button and it will begin to record.
“We hope it will deter people from committing hate crimes, as they
know they will be recorded from the signs on the wall.
“It’s totally unwarranted and unacceptable, and these cameras are
intended to provide reassurance to staff who have experienced such an
incident, by offering a deterrent and helping to assist police collect
evidence to identify offenders.
“This will increase our opportunities to arrest those responsible,
take appropriate action to put them before the courts, and prevent
them from being able to use the shop in the future.
“Although the devices are discreet, they are small enough to be worn
on the body to ensure that vulnerable staff have access to the
recording facility at all times and in areas of their premises that
previously would not have been covered by their own CCTV.”
Foysol Choudhury, Chair of Edinburgh and Lothian Regional Equality
Council, said: “We welcome the initiative of Police Scotland of making
small body cameras available, which will help safeguard and protect
persons vulnerable to hate crimes.
“We also believe that it would make local business owners and
employees confident to conduct their business as well as report
instances of hate crime.
“As a lot of people are not aware of processes about reporting hate
crimes, the body cameras will make them confident about garnering
evidence of such crimes. We hope that this step will increase rates of
reporting of hate crimes.”
Takeaway driver Simon San was murdered in a racially motivated attack
in Edinburgh 2011.
San died from severe head injuries after he was attacked by a group of
white youths outside the family’s Chinese takeaway at Lochend in