Cops told to use body-cams starting April

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TAKING cue from the most recent controversy hounding police operations, Malacanang hinted on imposing the mandatory use of body cameras among operatives to quell apprehensions on what has been widely believed as irregularities among deployed operatives.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are already undergoing training to prepare them to conduct anti-crime activities while wearing their body cameras.

“The body cameras are here and we are now training our police officers. We are expecting the PNP to start using the body cameras in April,” Roque said.

Roque expressed optimism that the use of body cams would ensure that police activities are free from irregularities, in the wake of a public outrage following the deaths of nine activists in Calabarzon during operations last Sunday.

Bereaved families from Southern Tagalog insisted that the slain activists were unarmed while the police were serving search warrants, contrary to claims of the PNP.

“We could minimize doubts on the part of the public about what really happened and what brought on casualties in police operations. The body cameras will serve as physical evidence and physical evidence don’t lie,” Roque said.

In 2019, the police purchased P289-million worth of 2,696 waterproof body cameras to ensure transparency and accountability in its operations like raids and routine patrols, particularly when the conduct and legality of their activities are called into question.

However, it was only weeks ago when the PNP announced that the body cameras and their component hardware have been distributed among police stations across the country.

Some of the cameras can be equipped with SIM cards to enable their live-streaming function. These cameras can record up to eight hours of footage.

A set of protocols on the use of body cams is expected to be issued by the PNP Directorate for Operations.

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