Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police (DGP) Mukul Goel on Thursday chaired a review meeting on the use of body cameras by police personnel to ensure “more transparency and accountability” and improve the force’s legitimacy. The other objective of using these cameras is to develop the public’s trust and confidence in the force.
At present, the police are using 3,635 body-worn cameras (BWCs) across the state, and soon the force would purchase 25,000 more cameras, said Director General (Logistics) BK Maurya. The police would also buy 75 drone cameras and 425 drones equipped with night-vision cameras, he added.
Apart from Maurya, Additional Director General (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar, Lucknow Commissioner of Police DK Thakur, and ADG (Traffic) Jyoti Narain also attended the meeting.
The use of body cameras is governed by a standard operating procedure (SOP) developed on February 9. According to the SOP, policemen cannot delete footage from such cameras. The footage gets transferred to a server that becomes a central repository.
In a statement after the meeting, Goel said, “Technology is transforming modern policing and enhancing our crime detection capabilities, police accountability, and police-citizen dynamics. Body-worn cameras worn by police officers will improve the civility of police-citizen engagement and enhances citizen perceptions of police transparency and legitimacy.”
The police statement said that in a paradigm shift from conventional policing, which relies on batons and crude methods of evidence collection, policing in UP was moving ahead with the times, and increasingly video surveillance was being used as the force’s “third eye”.
The police added, “The body-worn cameras will have several benefits by ushering in more transparency and accountability for the department eventually improving the legitimacy of police. It would develop confidence amongst civilians and police officials.”
The use of such cameras by policemen on duty could also provide hard evidence of decisions they make in high-intensity situations, read the statement. It added, “They will play a crucial role at a crime scene by capturing real-time video gathering crucial evidence which can be later used in the crime scene reconstruction helping to solve complicated cases. There are so many minute pieces of evidence which may escape the naked eyes.”
The traffic police department is among the divisions using body cameras at present. “Besides its usage by the police stations, the traffic police has also been equipped with 2,652 BWCs which also has a greater possibility of altercation with citizens during enforcement of traffic norms. It is also supposed to bring down instances of corruption which has been a frequent allegation against the traffic cops,” read the statement.
ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said, “Besides the detection of crime, BWCs and drones of UP Police will play a crucial role in law-and-order situations, demonstrations, crowd mapping and understanding the pattern and route of crowds at big rallies and religious processions, implementation of Section 144 CrPC, and enforcing lockdown.”
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