Manila traffic enforcers to wear body cam to record interaction with motorists

Starting this year, the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) will require every traffic enforcer to wear a body camera while on duty.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said on Monday that the use of body cameras will deter MTPB enforcers from extorting money when apprehending traffic violators.

"We've been thinking of ways to cut down corruption and misbehavior among MTPB enforcers, and we believe the use of body cams is an effective way," Estrada said, adding that body cameras usually cost from PHP8,500 to PHP12,000 apiece.

Many law enforcement units in other countries use cameras on their body and vehicle dashboard to record their operations and encounters with motorists and criminal elements.

Usually worn on the front of the shirt, a body camera is a video recording system that is typically utilized by law enforcement personnel to record their interactions with the public or gather video evidence at crime scenes, and has been known to increase both officer and citizen accountability.

Last Nov. 28, Estrada terminated the job contracts of 690 members of the MTPB after City Hall was swamped with complaints from motorists concerning their alleged extortion activities.

To fill up the vacated slots, the Manila Police District (MPD) is retraining the first batch of 92 new enforcers whom Estrada said will be more disciplined, competent and incorruptible.

MTPB chief Dennis Alcoreza said he fully supports the idea of equipping traffic personnel with body cameras.

By recording enforcer-motorist encounters, he said they can get evidence of what happens during the actual apprehension instead of relying on hearsay.

"We have to balance it out. For all we know, the apprehended motorist is just making up stories to pin down the hapless enforcer and get away with his violation. We'll get to see the entire situation," Alcoreza pointed out.

"Our target is one body cam per enforcer, plus a communication radio. We initially plan to procure 100 body cams by April," he said.

Source: Philippines News Agency