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Watch it! City police to wear bodycams to safeguard women

Watch it! City police to wear bodycams to safeguard women

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Come January, patrolling city police personnel will sport body-worn cameras, aka body cams, in an attempt to bolster security measures for women.

Bodycams are small cameras clipped onto police personnel’s uniform, waist belt or headset and turned on to record their encounters with the public. Since footage is uploaded on an external database, the images can be used for facial recognition. The technology, which is used in the US, the UK and Australia, serves dual purposes: public surveillance and accountability as well as documenting any instance of police misconduct. Its credibility isn’t foolproof though, as the on/off control rests with the police personnel. The state home department hopes that the technology will serve as a deterrent for criminals.

Asenior official from the department said Maharashtra will be the first to give the technology a shot for a city police patrol unit. Some cities, like Delhi, have tested such cameras, but only for their traffic police units or for special law and order occasions.

There’s no clarity on how many cameras will be procured but they are likely to arrive within the next two months.



The Centre had rapped the state government on the knuckles in July for letting its share of Rs 252 crore from the Nirbhaya fund sit idle. The fund was set up by the UPAII government following the gang rape of a medical student in December 2012 with a corpus of Rs 1,000 crore to allow states to initiate measures to strengthen women’s safety. It has now grown to Rs 3,600 crore.

Following the admonishing, the state home department thereafter prepared a plan, which includes spending 70 per cent of the fund on bodycams, 500 more CCTV cameras and self-balancing electric scooters. The city already has over 5,000 CCTV cameras. “The idea is to allow the police to be well-equipped with modern technology,” said the official. The department has already begun installing the additional CCTV cameras in locations that have seen crimes against women.






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