Use of body cameras ‘to reduce lethal force’ during police operations — CHR

Published July 12, 2021, 2:05 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday, July 12, said the rules on the use of body-worn cameras and recording devises by law enforcers in implementing court warrants will protect both the citizenry and the police force.

“We push for the use of body-worn cameras as a preventive measure to reduce lethal force during police operations, achieve improved resolution of complaints, and gather more effective evidence in judicial proceedings,” the CHR said through Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia.

De Guia said the SC resolution that contain the rules is a “step towards the right direction” as the rules will not only result in better transparency and accountability in police operations, but also improve the public’s trust in law enforcement legitimacy.

“The Commission fully supports the creation of a legal framework to effectively implement the use of body-worn cameras during police operations,” she said.

While the use of body-worn cameras has its potential benefits, the CHR wants law enforcement officers to remain mindful of future challenges — particularly concerning data management and privacy issues, she said.

She explained that the use of technology is an “unexplored area” in the country’s law enforcement and criminal justice system, “so the police must be careful not to abuse it.”

She said “the CHR underscores that the implementation of the guidelines must always comply with human rights standards and principles in rolling out this innovation.”

Since the number of body-worn cameras for the police force is limited, the CHR is calling for partnerships and donations for the PNP so that more police operations may benefit from its usage, she added.

At the same time, De Guia said the CHR is looking forward to the improvements in training and organization policies related to the use of body-worn cameras since this was the commitment made earlier by PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar.

“Highlighting the need to protect civil rights and civil liberties while enforcing the law, the Commission, for its part, shall study the matter and adjust our policies according to the Supreme Court guidelines to better respond in investigating cases of human rights violations,” she added.