BOC issues rules on use of body cameras for Customs police

In order to establish uniform and clear guidelines for the optimum usage of body-worn cameras and recording devices, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) said Friday, Sept. 24, that it has issued the rules on the use of body-worn cameras for the customs police.

(File photo)

The BOC, in a statement, said Customs Memorandum Order 33-2021 was released to govern the use of body-worm camera as a standard equipment in the exercise of Customs Police Authority and in the conduct of other customs operations.

The BOC said that the use of body-worn camera and the eventual recording of events shall be mandatory under customs operations.

It includes controlled delivery operation, guarding duty at customs import gates, hot pursuit, inspection of consignees' offices, search of persons arriving from foreign countries, search of vehicles and other carriers, persons, and animals, search on vessels or aircrafts and persons or goods conveyed therein.

It will also be used in regular customs operations such as boarding formalities, disposition of goods such as auction and condemnation of goods, and the non-intrusive and physical examination of goods.

Along with the guidelines enforced by the BOC order were the list of circumstances where the cameras or devices may be turned off and the effect of failure to observe the requirements.

"The downloading of data from the cameras and devices for safekeeping and preservation shall be done within 24 hours from the time of recording by the data custodian," the BOC said.

"Recordings captured are subject to a retention period of 45 days from its recording time, extendible for a longer time upon request by an interested party when such recording is material to an investigation being conducted by proper authorities," it added.

Furthermore, the BOC noted that the data privacy rights of every person as espoused under Republic Act 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 shall be respected "provided that the exercise of such rights does not fall under the exceptions provided by the same law."