Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Body Camera

We read every day so many atrocities committed by the Indian police while in their custody. 

Fake encounters. 
Sexual torture of women. 
Physical torture of both men and women. 
Physical abuse of young boys and girls. 
Forced confessions. 
Alleged suicide in the police station. 
Using vulgar language during interrogation. 
Using brutal physical force during arrest. 
And, so many more.  

What do we do? Read the news and move on. Most of the culprits are never found guilty. 

How can we stop this? Here is the latest being implemented in every police station in USA. All interactions between the police and the citizens will be recorded. Therefore, all the police officers will be wearing a body video camera.

                                                             (Courtesy: Yahoo)

Police personnel wearing body cams should be made compulsory in India also. There are lot of advantages. First of all, police will realize their behavior is going to be scrutinized as well as the citizens behavior. Politicians cannot threaten police personnel. 

This will save the police from being wrongly accused. Police will think twice before touching the culprit. People will have “trust” in the police. There will be less citizen complaints. 

This will also stop the practice of senior police officers using constables as their drivers and household servants. And, stop them stealing from the street vendors. Stop them from taking bribes from the motor cycle/car/truck drivers. 

One thing we should be careful. We should not give the police the capability to turn on and turn off the body camera at their discretion. It should be “turned on” when they check in for duty at the station and “turned off” at the station only at the end of their duty. 

It is easier to implement in India than USA. In India, police is managed by the state governments. Therefore, one directive from the state government will be covering the entire state police. In USA, police is managed by the city governments. Therefore, each city has to make its own rule. 

If any social activist in India wants to promote a campaign (thru Facebook) to make all police personnel wear bodycam while on duty, I am available to help him/her.

39 comments:

  1. Great idea! I hope activists note this and initiate a petition... I will surely support by voting.
    Thanks for sharing the information, SG :)
    TC, keep smiling :)

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    1. Thanks for your comments Sindhu. I am ready to help if any activist wants to pursue this.

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  2. This rule, even if announced, will either be blocked or will be made ineffective/impossible to implement. But this might lessen the number of brazen corruption incidents.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Thanks for your comments Rajesh. At least, as a starter, police should be made to wear bodycam while on duty and stop the motor cycle/car/truck on the road.

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  3. very good idea and we certainly need in India to control the police..as they are a government in themselves.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Renu. I am glad you support this cause.

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  4. Have they implemented it in Alabama, where an old Gujarati man was ill treated by brute police force, for fault of his?
    We still don't know what is the old man's condition.
    We have such brute police force everywhere, whereas it might be possible elsewhere, but in India such things would take a long time to come.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Rama. I have no idea if they implemented in Alabama. I know in India such things would take a long time to come. But, at least, we can make a beginning.

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  5. This is a great idea. Even if one state or city implements such a thing, it puts pressure on others. Just like body cams in the US are leading to online discussions such as your blog post.

    One more great thing I read about is that in a few big cities in the US/UK etc., policemen will face random tests without their knowledge. The situation will seem normal, but the policemen will not know if they are in a actual situation or being monitored. Such a step will stop bad behavior and encourage good practices.

    Also, one thing we all tend to ignore is the fact that nearly 90% of the police force in India is in Assistant Sub Inspector and ranks lower to it. These people need better salaries, better facilities etc., without which everything that we discuss will be useless.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Karunesh. 100% agree with your suggestions.

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  6. Sounds like a good idea. But here, nobody is sincere. They will find out some way to misuse it. Corruption will start from buying the cameras!

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    1. Thanks for your comments Sandhya. At least, we can make a beginning.

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  7. This should definitely be implemented in India. I've seen Police harass many people who get scared of authority. This will teach them what their limits are.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Ashwini. It will sure teach the police what their limits are.

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  8. This will be a very good step as main issue is that people do not trust police in India and that is why often, witnesses turn hostile and passers by avoid taking accident victims to hospital.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Ankita. I am glad you thought this is a good suggestion.

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  9. Sounds like a great idea! Hope it gets implemented in India... but I doubt if that would be happening anytime soon in the near future!

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    1. Thanks for your comments Shilpa. I agree with you. It will take time in India.

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  10. Wow! This is quite a good idea...
    Lets use technology constructively :)

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    1. Thanks for your comments Satya. Technology should be put to good use like this bodycam.

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  11. That is a good idea.. but we indians have thins thing called JUGAAD we are masters at bypassing everything :)

    who will police the police is the question ..

    Bikram's

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    1. Thanks for your comments Bikram. You are raising a good point.

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  12. A very practical idea.Atrocities and allegations will diminish in volume. The police after watching their public behaviuor themselves they can have an introspection.But at present its memory won't be sufficient to record the wrongs till they reform themselves. A useful post indeed esp. in India.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Sarala. I am glad you thought this is a good idea.

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  13. A great concept indeed...but in India? Well, with the corruption issues, i feel the policemen will be glad to accept the cameras as personal gifts.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Alok. HaHaHa. Anything can happen with the Indian police.

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  14. Yes, it's easy as Police is under state administration. But my only concern is funds. Police departments don't have enough funds to run the police stations in India. However, this change is quite welcome.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Saru. You are correct. The government has to find funds. Enough public pressure may get the job done.

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  15. Very true, SG. More transparency, more fairness. Not just in cases like the one you described, even corruption and red tape can substantially be contained if we make use of technology to get processes overboard and transparent.

    I feel, in India there is a resistance to such measures, because people aren't comfortable being accountable; they feel they no more have the freedom to take selfish shortcuts and get away at will.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Pradeep. I think the people who run our country must take action to overcome the resistance.

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  16. I read somewhere that India is one of those few countries where the presence of policemen doesnt fill you with confidence but with dread. And I agree. Even if it isnt true for everyone our police has a very bad reputation. This camera rule is being discussed in Hyderabad. I hope it gets implemented soon. It would help a lot.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Harini. I am glad Hyderabad is moving in the right direction. Hope they become a role model for other cities/states.

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  17. No, I think the best ways are,
    1. Get politicians off Police force command. That will solve 50 % problems.
    2. More recruitment.
    3. Fixed duty hours.
    4. Better living conditions.
    5. Faster judgements.
    Yes, the last b'cos the few good men surely get demoralized when they see their hard work go down the drain & criminal walk off. ( a la Ravindra Patil).
    As for the 1st 4 conditions, they equally apply to resident doctors, who slog like animals and then are expected to behave like divinity. Sorry for the diversion - but it struck a personal note as a doc.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Sweety. Bodycam will certainly get the politicians off the back of the police. I don’t know how more recruitment, fixed duty hours, and better living conditions will stop police from sexual torture of women, physical torture during interrogation, using vulgar language, using brutal physical force, etc..

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    2. Neither will Bodycam. I bet they will malfunction, will mysteriously disappear, and get stolen for junk sale. India is the land of how-to-escape-law.
      Our hospital started cardswipe to replace muster signing. Within a month, all machines either crashed or got hacked or broken. The system has now gone back to muster signing, with all its proxy possibilities.
      When I said more recruitment and better pay, I meant as an incentive to better living conditions, which in turn can make them more humane.

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  18. Interesting initiative! But I have a feeling this could work only in the US.
    Our people tend to find a shortcut to everything and it won't take too long for the policemen to scrap the initiative if it ever comes to place. They will have their way. (pardon me if I sound judgemental)

    But for the sake of the victims and a few good people, we should give it a try.

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  19. A good idea and I am all for it, but as usual the politicians are the first who will try to put a spanner here, as there will be many skeletons falling out of the cupboard.

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  20. Good initiative to make the best use of the Police officers. Technology rightly used can bring in loads of protection to Indian citizens and such implementation should be followed by our Government as well. Thanks for the share!

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  21. agree with you , reforms are required but no politician is interested , no political party is interested

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