The National Police has issued a memorandum containing protocols for using body-worn cameras (BWC) or alternative recording devices (ARD) in serving search and arrest warrants, as well as making warrantless arrests.
Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief, said the Directorate for Operations issued the memorandum on Monday to all regional directors and heads of national support units, as the Supreme Court’s rules on using BWCs and ARDs took effect.
He said the memorandum, which requires strict compliance, stipulates that the gadgets are never to be turned off at any time while the execution of a search and arrest warrant or a warrantless arrest is going on.
“The memorandum also requires police operatives to, upon return of warrant, submit a copy of the video to the court along with an affidavit attesting to the facts and authenticity of the recording,” Eleazar said.
“Nakasaad din dito na kailangang magpaliwanag sa korte ng mga operatiba sakaling hindi nila sundin ang requirement na paggamit ng BWC o ARD sa kanilang operasyon,” he added.
The PNP launched its body-worn camera system on June 4 to ensure transparency and legitimacy of law-enforcement operations. However, funds were only good for 2,696 body cameras, which have been distributed to 171 police stations and offices.
“Hindi sapat ang aming body-worn cameras but in the spirit of transparency and accountability, I trust that our commanders will find ways to comply with the Supreme Court’s guidelines,” Eleazar said.
Eleazar previously announced that some local governments and private entities have expressed willingness to donate BWCs to the PNP.
Other police officials had said that some lawmen would be using mobile phones with cameras to record operations, in the meantime.