February 3, 2021 3:19:41 am
More than three years after former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced body cameras for traffic police personnel, the Mumbai traffic department received 1,388 body cameras on Monday. The traffic authorities, who are yet to distribute the cameras to its men, said there are 34 traffic divisions across Mumbai and each division will be allocated at least 30 body cameras depending on the traffic load.
The BJP-led Maharashtra government had declared the provision of body cameras for the safety of traffic police personnel in September 2016 in the wake of the murder of a constable, Vilas Shinde. A 24-year-old youth, who was awarded life imprisonment in February 2020, had assaulted Shinde with a bamboo stick on August 23, 2016 after the policeman had stopped the former’s 17-year-old brother for underage riding without proper documentation and helmet. Shinde, who was admitted to hospital with head injuries, succumbed on August 31 that year.
Police officials said the body cameras that weigh around 85 gram will be installed on the second (chest) button of the uniform of a traffic policeman. The authorities said the cameras record HD quality videos and audios. It also has night vision and is dust and water resistant. “The camera has 10 hours of battery life, and can store footage up to 10 hours,” said deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Nandkumar Thakur.
Police officials said the cameras can be used continuously for 10 hours or switched on if they sense trouble. “The videos can be used as evidence in future if any untoward incident takes places while enforcing law,” said an officer.
At the end of every day, the recordings will be taken to the respective traffic division by policemen and stored. “They will be stored for a month and depending on the necessity, the videos will be stored further otherwise erased,” said Thakur.
The authorities said they received 1,388 cameras in two instalments of which the last instalment was delivered to their head office in Worli on Monday. Thakur said the cameras are user friendly and a day long training will be provided to every traffic policeman.
Officials said the device will be put to use in next ten days. “We are yet to distribute the body cameras to our men, but are expecting it to start in 10 days’ time. They will be distributed on the basis of how traffic heavy a particular traffic division is. Minimum 30 cameras will be provided to each division,” added Thakur.
The Mumbai traffic police are also looking at live monitoring of traffic policemen through these cameras. Thakur said, “We are also planning live monitoring but it is costly and we are seeing whether the department can bear the cost.”
Officials added that apart from making use of these cameras against traffic violators, the police department will also use them during major events like agitation, riots and raids.
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