South African traffic officers will be issued with body cameras to ensure the safety of both law enforcers and members of the public.
In a statement ahead of the Easter festive season, the Department of Transport said that the cameras will be a useful tool in dealing with the high levels of bribery incidents by providing a factual account of events.
“The Road Traffic Management Corporation has taken a giant leap towards reinventing law enforcement by introducing a lasting solution to many law enforcement problems in the form of a body-worn camera to be used by officers,” it said.
“This use of e-enforcement will not only bring about much-needed relief to the fraternity but will also enhance road safety for all road users especially motorists.”
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula is expected to provide an official demonstration of the new technology at the launch of the Easter Road Safety Campaign in the North West next week.
The idea of equipping SAPS members with cameras has been floated for a number of years but has been put on the back burner due to a lack of funding.
Speaking to BusinessTech in June 2019, a Department of Police spokesperson said that body cameras are on the agenda of the SAPS’ top management – although no implementation date had been set as the department awaits more information on funding.
“Body cameras will be used as – but not limited to – a safety measure to protect our men and woman in blue during operations,” the spokesperson said at the time.
“They will also be used for data capturing as the world is moving in the direction of the 4th industrial revolution and to advance policing.
“I can’t give the exact date of implementation unfortunately for now, due to the allocation of funds etc.”
The SAPS has already introduced new technology in its squad cars including built-in number plate recognition system.
Mbalula said that the technology enables traffic officers to scan all vehicles and know immediately if it has been stolen or if there are warrants for the owner and other important information.
The onboard system will also pull information from a national database including the driver’s licensing details, outstanding fines and traffic violations.