I COMMEND the proposal to equip enforcement officers with body cameras to increase their level of transparency and avoid ambiguity in any disputes between them and suspects, “Cops to start using body cam soon” (The Star, Sept 20).
For far too long, Malaysians in general have always had lingering doubts on the professionalism of our enforcement personnel. The use of body cameras would certainly help both the enforcement agencies and the public.
However, there are a number of concerns which the authorities must address if the proposal is to be implemented.
Body cameras are good as long as they are functioning, the records are properly kept and standard operating procedures (SOP) are strictly followed. But we have heard stories of closed circuit TV cameras in lock-ups not functioning at the most critical moment and recordings that have mysteriously gone missing or “accidentally” erased or deleted. We have also heard of poor maintenance of equipment due to lack of allocations.
All the gadgets and equipment do help, but ultimately it is the enforcement agencies that should decide whether they wish to be fair and professional in carrying out their duties.
How do they ensure that officers on active duty put on the body cameras? If they refuse or forget to wear the equipment, what would the consequences be and who is responsible when recordings are not properly preserved and SOP not followed?
Body cameras may help, but the professionalism of enforcement agencies require the whole gambit of other factors, from proper supervision, monitoring and control to integrity and strict adherence to SOP.
T. K. CHUA , Kuala Lumpur