COPS WITH CAMS: Philippines police to trial body cameras next year

Silang – VIJAY SHAH via MARLLY ROME BONDOC and GMA News

Mirroring the introduction of body cameras for police forces in the countries of Europe and North America, the national police of the Philippines have announced that they will be considering fitting body cameras to their officers in the new year, according to a report by GMA News Online today.

The small cameras, usually attached to the police officer’s helmet, hat or upper body, help ensure the officer’s safety when apprehending criminals or carrying out raids, but also serve as valuable video evidence for court cases. This year, police in the United Kingdom have also adopted the cameras, particularly in road patrols and traffic law enforcement duties.

 

The director general of the Philippines National Police (PNP), Ronald Dela Rosa, welcomed the plan to fit his officers with camera devices, an initiative suggested by some local governments in the archipelago. However the final decision on procuring the cameras rests with the national government, who will assess whether the program can be funded from the country’s budget. If all goes well, the first cameras will be distributed to police forces next year, GMA News reports.

Dela Rosa, in a doorstop  interview conducted while visiting the PNP Academy in Silang, Cavite province yesterday, said that the initiative is currently passing through the Philippines Congress (parliament) where a bill on it is being debated. He also said the cameras will be useful in anti-narcotics operations and praised the idea as a ‘welcome development’. The Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, has made fighting the endemic drugs problem in the Philippines a major plank of his presidency, although critics at home and abroad have condemned Duterte for ordering the wholesale killing of both dealers and addicts, often by police and paramilitaries in his attempts to rid the archipelago of drugs. Thousands of people have already lost their lives in extrajudicial encounters.

Police in the city of Pasig, on the outskirts of capital Manila, have already started wearing cameras since last week, with Eastern Police District director Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula  announcing that the cameras would help prevent police officers there from accusations of improper behaviour when carrying out their duties. A total of 48 devices were procured, with each police unit receiving three.

The country’s Congress is considering making it legally compulsory for police to wear body cameras and a portion of the budget has been set aside to obtain more than 37,000 devices for distribution nationally.

SOURCES:

HEM Newsbreakers, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-newsbreakers

GMA News, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/gmanews

“PNP may start procuring body cameras next year — Dela Rosa” – Marlly Rome Bondoc, GMA News Online/GMA News (3 December 2017) http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/635246/pnp-may-start-procuring-body-cameras-next-year-dela-rosa/story/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free photo: Bodyworn, Body Camera – Free Image on Pixabay – 794106” – Utility_Inc, Pixabay (3 April 2015) https://pixabay.com/en/bodyworn-body-camera-794106/

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