POLICE fear the way they deal with body-mounted digital cameras may fail to meet data protection laws.

The national force is looking at options for extending the use of the controversial "officer-worn CCTV" system across the country.

But internal documents reveal concerns over the legality of the bodycams, which are only routinely used in the north-east.

A draft review of CCTV policy said: "The management of these devices at a number of different offices is questionable in regards to compliance with the Information Commissioner's Office guidance."

The former Grampian Police force bought such cameras for its officers - and smaller numbers have been used in other parts of the country, including by the entirely separate British Transport Police, which patrols railways.

Provision of such cameras, the report said, was "disparate". It added: "A decision from Senior Management Team is required as to the corporate way forward and the introduction of a Standard Operating Procedure to ensure officers are aware of their roles and responsibilities with regards to legislative compliance."

These concerns are understood to focus on where and when the cameras can be used and, more importantly, on how any resulting images are stored and handled.

Senior officers believe body­cams could be a vital tool in gathering evidence and protecting the public from misbehaviour by officers and officers from false allegations by the public.

A police spokesman said: "We are considering options for the use of body-worn videos, building on the experience we have in using them across the Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire and Moray Divisions."

Aberdeen city commander, Chief Superintendent Adrian Watson, said: "The cameras have helped to bring about earlier guilty pleas - which means officers are able to spend less time in court and more time out and about in communities."

A study in England - where data protection legislation is the same as in Scotland - was published on Wednesday, showing body cameras helped secure convictions in tough and complicated cases, such as domestic abuse.

The study, carried out in Essex after a four-month trial, found a significantly higher proportion of people were charged with an offence when officers wore cameras, compared with other sanctions, such as a penalty or community resolution.