Over the past 12 months all police officers across North Wales have been provided with body-worn cameras – but many of them are not using them when they should.

Now a Police Federation representative has urged colleagues to ensure that the cameras remain switched on not only to provide evidence against defendants but to protect themselves from complaints.

Sergeant Dan Ball, a Federation workplace representative, who often has to represent officers who are the subject of complaints, says he is often baffled as to why their cameras have been switched off .

Last year it was announced that every officer in North Wales would be provided with a camera, known as Body Worn Video (BWV), at a cost of £519,000. Previously only front-line officers had them.

Writing in the latest edition of the Federation newsletter “Your Voice”, Sgt Ball, who has complained in the past about the standard of some of the Force’s technology, says he is continually frustrated when dealing with complaints and finding no footage available.

“Often this can be a job with multiple officers in attendance and yet not one of them has thought to turn a camera on,” he says.

“Or officers have turned the c amera on and then for some reason turned it off before they have completed the job and left.

“I have to ask myself why, and, even worse than this, I often see footage where officers have turned on BWV halfway through dealing with DV (domestic violence) or public order incident. In doing this, they have potentially missed vital disclosures r other evidence.”

Sgt Ball, who is stationed in Rhyl, says he also comes across many cases of officers using the cameras when making arrests but then switching them off on the journey into custody, leaving themselves open to allegations about their behaviour or driving.

He urges colleagues to think about when to switch off their cameras, adding: “Think about how that could potentially be perceived in any later investigation, either local or with the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

“Please use these devices. They are proven to be overwhelmingly better for you, the public and the organisation.”