Body worn cameras come to Delhi Police

The Delhi Traffic Police have ordered cameras that could be worn on the uniform by traffic officials to record their movements and interaction with those who violate traffic rules. The move came after a traffic police official was sacked for hitting a woman with a brick following an argument over jumping a traffic signal in the posh Golf Links area in the Capital.

Senior officers said the cameras would be switched on as soon as a vehicle is flagged down and it would record the conversations between the traffic cop and the person concerned. Sources said that while the cameras have been on the Delhi Police’s agenda for some time, the procurement has been expedited in the light of the recent incident. The attack by the cop triggered a massive public outrage.

Head constable Satish Chand, who had hurled the brick at the woman, was arrested and a criminal case filed against him. The woman, who was riding a two-wheeler, alleged that Chand also demanded a bribe after accusing her of violating traffic rules.
She alleged that the cop also abused her children.

“We have been planning to procure these for quite some time to handle rogue drivers who call up their ‘contacts’ or threaten policemen and even attack them when challaned,” said a police official. A senior traffic official said that while the request for proposals for procuring the cameras was issued earlier in this year in February, the cameras are likely to arrive this month. The tentative cost of these cameras will be between USD 200 to 500 (approx. Rs 13,000-Rs 30,000) depending upon the resolution and operation.

“We are currently in the process of procuring the cameras. We are finalising our plan and talking with several companies. The emphasis is on buying from an Indian firm but we are also looking at international products,” said Muktesh Chander, special commissioner (traffic).  Sources said the police will buy 1,000 cameras and more will be ordered as per the need.

“Apart from this similar cameras mounted on cars and motor-cycles have also been ordered to record violations on the move. Our ultimate aim is to move away from manual challaning to nullify errors and tackle corruption,” said a senior traffic police officer. In the long-term, police vehicles will be fitted with cameras which will provide direct feeds to a control room.