Parliament’s Select Committee on Transport has requested that the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) ensure that all South African traffic officers are issued with body cameras as soon as possible.
In a parliamentary presentation on Wednesday (11 March), the committee said that this measure would ensure the safety of both law enforcers and members of the public.
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 has 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.”
While no implementation date has been set for the use of body cameras, the SAPS has introduced new technology in its squad cars including a built-in number plate recognition system.
Transport minister Fikile 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.