PNP’s P 289-M body cams to be distributed based on ‘drug affectation’
Police officers will soon be using body cameras during anticrime operations with the purchase of P289 million worth of the equipment, the Philippine National Police announced on Friday.
In a statement, Police Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa, PNP officer in charge, said an initial 2,696 body cameras will be purchased, which will livestream police operations.
“This system is expected to equip our police units in support [of] our anticriminality and antiterrorism operations including mission-essential equipment for mobility and investigation,” Gamboa said.
But not every police officer, and not every police station, will have this equipment, said Police Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesperson.
“The number of camera units to be distributed will be determined by drug affectation (sic) in the locality,” he said.
According to Gamboa, the bidded supply contract has been awarded to EVI Distribution, a San Juan City-based company, at a contract price of P288.89 million, including taxes, duties, software and maintenance.
He said the purchase will include body cameras as well as a “sophisticated, reliable and secure system” which will allow system management, livestreaming, data storage and backup, overall connectivity and monitoring.
The contract also covers acquiring connectivity systems, accessories, video management software, computer servers and sufficient storage devices for the body-worn cameras.
The PNP will set up a National Management and Monitoring Center to serve as the “unified data hub” of the body camera system, Gamboa said.
This will be run by the PNP’s Information Technology Management Service (PNP-ITMS), together with 17 regional monitoring centers, and 81 provincial monitoring centers.
‘Smart Policing’“This is our continuing effort to align our police operations with ‘Smart Policing’ … as an intelligent implementation of innovations in policing technology while at the same time incorporating it with existing policies,” Gamboa said.
The PNP’s “Smart Policing” thrust stands for “secured, mobile, artificial intelligence-driven, real-time technology.”
But prior to the issuance of the supply contract and purchase order, the PNP bids and awards committee will still assess the required performance security of the winning supplier, and will conduct a final evaluation of the system, Gamboa said.
Critics of President Duterte’s drug war have clamored for the use of body cameras in police operations to ensure transparency in this controversial law-enforcement campaign.
Vice President Leni Robredo had made this recommendation in her brief stint as cochair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs (Icad). But it was greeted with skepticism from the President’s political allies as well as other officials in the committee.
But on Wednesday, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency chief Aaron Aquino said he had directed government agencies in the antidrug campaign to implement Robredo’s recommendations to Icad, which the Vice President headed together with Aquino until Mr. Duterte fired her on Nov. 24. –Melvin Gascon
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