Tulfo proposes mandatory use of body-worn cameras in police ops

Senator Rafael ‘’Raffy’’ Tulfo wants law enforcement personnel to use body-worn cameras during special police operations and other activities to ensure transparency and strengthen evidence quality.

This after Tulfo filed Senate Bill (SB) 2199, or “Body-worn Camera Act” which will apply to law enforcement  operations including service of warrants of arrest, implementation of search warrants, enforcement of visitorial powers of the Chief Philippine National Police (PNP) and unit commanders, anti-illegal drugs operation, among others.

“This law will provide for an effective law enforcement operation – from investigation, apprehension, detention, and prosecution by utilizing sound and modern procedure in crime investigation,” the bill read.

Body-worn camera refers to an electronic camera system designated to law enforcement units for creating, generating, sending, receiving, storing, displaying, and processing audio-visual recordings that may be worn during operations.

Tulfo explained that body-worn cameras should meet the following minimum standard requirement: 720p or higher video resolution; built-in frame rate, audio, date and time-stamping, and GPS; eight hours continuous battery life; capability to store eight hours continuous audio-video footage; and with a night mode built-in.

In filing the measure, Tulfo said that law enforcement officers are mandated to wear and activate body-worn camera to capture and record the entire conduct of operation during its execution.

He added that body-worn camera should record in full all the activities incidental to the conduct of the operation and that it should not be deactivated until the operation has concluded and the law enforcement officers leave the venue of the activity.

Tulfo said the law enforcement officer who fails without reasonable grounds to use the body-worn camera or alternative recording devices, or intentionally interferes with the body-worn cameras’ ability to accurately capture audio and video recordings of the arrest, or otherwise manipulates such recording during or after the operation may be liable for contempt of court.

During the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs yesterday, May 23, Tulfo said that no operative should conduct an anti-drug operation without a body cam to also avoid possible human rights violations involving erring police officers.