Body cameras a must now for the Royal Malaysian Police and the Immigration Department to nab criminals, to protect good, honest and responsible officers and for rogue enforcement officers to be brought to justice to uphold rule of law, integrity, courage and honour in the force

The recent triple shooting at Batu Arang Selangor has once again set tongues wagging if indeed what was reported by the police is parallel to what actually happened before, during and after the tragedy.

While we offer our sympathies to the children and wives of the deceased, the fact that there exists conflicting information rendered to the lawyer of the families Sivahnanthan Ragava and what Selangor Police Chief Noor Azam Jamaluddin is saying allows for all kinds of conspiracy theories to stem, especially that the wife of one of the deceased wife is still missing and that the police have no record of her.

While the Pakatan Harapan government has pledged and committed itself to set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), what is needed now to protect the integrity of the police force and good cops while penalising and castigating the rogue cops is a body camera or a body worn video to capture moments before a shootout or even a raiding operation so that the integrity of our enforcement officers will be safeguarded and that rogue officers will be dealt with by the long arm of the law using the images and videos as evidence in an investigation, inquiry or even in the court of justice.

In my visit to the Charing Cross Police Station in 2017, I was introduced to a device known as the Body Worn Video which was used by the Metropolitan Police Service officers to capture video and audio evidence in their line of duty. The video provides visual evidence to use in court and this means offenders are more likely to plead guilty and be brought to justice faster and at the same time improve investigation of complaints against officers and make them more accountable to the public as per the content of the kit insert. The videos will be used in incidences in stop and search or stop and account, stopping a motor vehicle, domestic abuse, critical incidents, searching premises/ land/ vehicles, attending premises to make an arrest or giving an order to an individual or group under any statutory power. The recording starts with the previous 30seconds and rolls in a 30second loop. The footage is uploaded to secure servers and saved onto a hard drive to be used in court or other proceedings. In the UK, the Management of Police Information (MoPI) and the Information Commission have both consented to retain the digital evidence for 31 days before being auto-deleted. There is no deletion or editing of the video and when an officer docks her or his device to charge the battery, all footage will be automatically downloaded according to the serial number of the officer matching the device. Once loaded, the footage cannot be altered or deleted by anyone unless it is retained or auto-deleted after 31 days.

If, on that ill-fated day, our men in blue had worn a body camera or body worn video during the alleged exchange of shots, then there would be no room for speculation if there was ever an error in judgement by the police and that innocent men had been killed that day.

I sincerely hope that the IGP will also welcome the move for his men and women in the Royal Malaysian Police and that the Director General of Immigration will also support this positive move for transparency on the conduct of his men and women in the Immigration force when raids and arrests are conducted.

With that I believe that there will be a budget allocation for the purchase of these body cameras or body worn videos to be used by our enforcement officers to nab criminals, to protect their integrity and to persecute the rogues and crooks in enforcement agencies who tarnish the name of PDRM and the Immigration Department with their dishonourable and sinister acts.

Kasthuri Patto
DAP WANITA INTERNATIONAL SECRETARY, MEMBER OF THE PARLIAMENTARY SPECIAL SELECT COMMITTEE ON RIGHTS AND GENDER EQUALITY & MP FOR BATU KAWAN
Media statement by Kasthuri Patto in Batu Kawan on Tuesday, 17th September 2019