The British Justice System
United Kingdom

There are many reasons why video recording ALL witnesses statements would be beneficial to all concerned and remove the element of doubt as to whether or not someone said what it is reported they have in their statements. In this day and age with even traffic wardens using digital cameras on their hats to record events, there is no justifiable reason as to why it shouldn't be the case.

However the case for video recording witness statements is fundamentally more compelling with regard to the most precious people in our population, our children. Not only is it important to be accurate over what is said and not said, but the manner in which comments are made by both child and interviewer alike. With both prosecution and defence counsel in possession of such a recording no further doubt could remain as to the circumstances in which child evidence is acquired. I feel it is important to note that this is not simply an opinion of my own, but any of you who have read the guidelines on child witnesses will also be aware that the need to have video recordings of child & other vulnerable witnesses is covered within the report.

For me this means that these measures should already be in place, guidelines do not exist for no reason and it should not be at the whim of an investigating officer as to whether they are complied with or not, they should be mandatory and the statement in it's entirety inadmissible should the protocol not be followed to the letter. Our children deserve that they are treated properly and video recordings will ensure that they are, not only of the statement itself but of all required phases in the procedure that are necessary to ensure their well-being is preserved. This would include recording the planning phase which is required before any interview even takes place to ensure that views expressed by all professionals concerned with a minors best interests are noted and adhered to. After all, if nothing untoward is going on, why would anyone object? These video's could then also be admitted in court rather than subjecting the child to further unnecessary stress if no further questions are necessary.

We, the undersigned, call on the British Government and all devolved parliaments to introduce legislation enforcing current guidelines on child witnesses including video recording all stages of any interviews with penalties imposed on individuals/agencies which fail to comply.

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The Safeguard Child Witnesses petition to The British Justice System was written by Billy A Middleton and is in the category Justice at GoPetition.