Finally, a real sense of accountability
As the Philippine National Police wage its bloody war on drugs, many feel that there’s been a lack of accountability regarding the conduct of said drug war on our streets, resulting in innocent lives being lost. A new Senate Bill, filed by Sen. Richard J. Gordon looks to end that by requiring PNP personnel to wear body cameras at all times, especially when conducting police operations.
Dubbed Senate Bill no. 1563, the bill requires both police personnel and police mobiles to have body and dash cameras on them at all times. The bill says that these cameras will need to be able to produce a video that’s 640 x 480 in resolution with wide angle lens support as well as night vision capabilities and have frame rates of at least 25 FPS , as well as have battery endurance to run up to 3 hours without running out of juice.
The bill also requires that the footage capture by said cameras to be stored up to a year, or at least three years from when it was recorded when the footage captures any kind of incident that can be used in a case. Said footage can only be accessed when it’s formally requested, which means regular policemen cannot access the footage without being meted disciplinary penalties.
The use of body cameras isn’t new – several police forces in the United States already use body cameras to great effect. Aside from the obvious benefits, a study conducted by US-based Police Executive Research Forum and the US Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) found that body cams also gave officers a way to provide evidence in domestic violence cases, improved evidence collection at accident scenes, assists in existing consent decrees, helps command staff recognize patterns of officer behavior as well as decrease complaints filed against officers.
This Bill Should Become Law
The sad reality is that drug killings lately just end up being “he-said, she-said” situations with the police claiming victims tried to fight back which forced them to draw their guns and kill the prisoners or suspects. This bill addresses that because it forces policemen to be more accountable to their actions because they know that the world is watching.
It will be interested to see how President Duterte and the PNP will react to this proposal.
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