SINGAPORE - Police officers at all 35 neighbourhood police centres here will start wearing body-worn cameras this year.
The deployment will be done in phases. Officers from the Bukit Merah West branch will be the first to don them starting Friday, said police in its annual crime brief on Thursday.
Officers from five other neighbourhood police centres, such as Ang Mo Kio North, Bedok South, Bukit Merah East, Jurong West and Toa Payoh, will don the cameras by June. Deployment of the body-worn cameras at all centres island-wide will be completed by June 2016.
Police said they are also studying the use of such cameras by other police units.
The body-worn cameras can capture audio and video recordings and will be worn in a visible manner on the front of an officer's uniform. They will be switched on and in recording mode when the officers are performing their duties.
Police said officers will have the discretion to stop recording in certain situations, for example, when dealing with victims of sexual offences. Safeguards and limits on the use of the camera footage have been put in place,said police.
Additionally, footage will be deleted after 31 days from the date of recording, unless it is required for official use such as police investigations.
Body-worn cameras are currently trialled by the Hong Kong Police Force and the United Kingdom's Metropolitan Police Service. Both police forces have found these cameras useful in deterring crime, and collecting information or evidence, claims the Singapore Police Force (SPF).
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Lau Peet Meng said that the cameras "will complement existing forensic methods to allow the police to piece together what actually happened at an incident."
"The body-worn camera is part of the SPF's technology roadmap to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of policing in Singapore for a safe and secure home for all of us," said Deputy Commissioner Lau.