SCDF to roll out body-worn cameras for frontliners, enforcement officers
Selected frontliners and enforcement officers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will be equipped with body-worn cameras from April 15.
This follows a 2015 pilot that examined the operational utility of the devices by having selected officers use helmet-mounted and body-worn cameras.
A trial involving paramedics was also conducted from February 2019 to February 2020.
The SCDF said it found that the recordings were useful for after-action performance reviews and post-incident investigations.
In a release on Wednesday (April 13), SCDF said the officers and frontliners to be equipped with the cameras are its fire and rescue specialists, paramedics, hazardous materials specialists, and inspection and enforcement officers for fire safety and hazardous materials.
"In this next phase, recorded footage from the body-worn cameras of frontliners and enforcement officers will be used for coaching and training purposes," it said.
"Body-worn cameras will also ensure greater accountability and transparency during interactions between SCDF officers and the public, including deterring potential abuse by members of the public."
Harassment of SCDF emergency responders hit a six-year high last year with 29 cases reported.
These included verbal or physical harassment, or both.
SCDF said that in the longer term, footage from the cameras will be streamed live to its operations centre.
During ongoing incidents, this will allow for more timely and informed decision-making, improving its overall incident management.
SCDF added that strict controls and protocols have been put in place to manage the deployment of the cameras, and to safeguard the collection, storage and use of the recordings.
Playback of footage is disabled, and only authorised personnel will be able to download and view it.
"Any access to the data will be logged to enable audit checks, and the data will be encrypted for added security," it said.
"SCDF will also ensure that the data is deleted after 90 days from the date of recording, unless there is justification to retain it, for example to assist in investigations or for operational reviews. Any officer who misuses the body-worn camera or recorded data will be dealt with severely."