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SCDF to equip selected frontliners and enforcement officers with body-worn cameras

SCDF to equip selected frontliners and enforcement officers with body-worn cameras

A Fire and Rescue Specialist donning the body-worn camera. (Photo: SCDF)

SINGAPORE: Selected frontliners and enforcement officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will start wearing body-worn cameras from Friday (Apr 15), in a move aimed at ensuring greater accountability and transparency between officers and the public. 

The cameras will be issued to fire and rescue specialists, hazardous materials specialists, paramedics and inspection and enforcement officers, said SCDF in a press release on Wednesday. 

They will be attached to the officer’s uniform or personal protective equipment. 

This is the next phase in SCDF’s use of body-worn cameras since it was first introduced in 2015. Then, SCDF piloted the use of helmet-mounted and body-worn cameras to selected officers to study their utility for operations. 

Body-worn cameras were subsequently trialled on paramedics between February 2019 and February 2020.

“We found that the recordings were useful for after-action performance reviews and post-incident investigations,” said SCDF. 

Going forward, the recorded footage from the cameras will be used for coaching and training purposes to improve SCDF’s officers’ performance. 

"(Body-worn cameras) will also ensure greater accountability and transparency during interactions between SCDF officers and the public, including deterring potential abuse by members of the public," said SCDF. 

SCDF said that in the longer term, the body-worn cameras will also livestream footage to its operations centre. 

This will help enhance SCDF’s situational awareness during an ongoing incident, allowing timely and informed decision-making, said the authorities.

Since the initial pilot study, strict controls and protocols have been put in place to manage the deployment of body-worn cameras and to safeguard the collection, storage and usage of the footage.  

Playback of the footage is disabled on the body camera, and only authorised personnel can download and view the recordings.

Any access to the recorded footage is logged for audit checks and the data encrypted for added security, said SCDF. 

SCDF also said that it will ensure that the data is deleted after 90 days from the date of recording, unless required for specific reasons such as investigations or operational reviews. 

Any officer who misuses the camera or its recorded data will be dealt with severely, said SCDF. 

Source: CNA/yb

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