The proposal for the new law on video surveillance, approved today by the Council of Ministers, will allow police officers to start using cameras in their uniforms, the so-called ‘bodycams’, the Deputy Secretary of State and Internal Administration revealed to Lusa.
In statements to the Lusa agency, Antero Luis he said that the proposal that the Government is going to submit to parliament contemplates the possibility of PSP and GNR elements using portable video surveillance cameras in police interventions, the so-called ‘bodycams’.
For the secretary of state, the ‘bodycams’ are “a key piece” in the performance of the security forces and in the “protection of the fundamental rights of citizens.
“The use of individual portable cameras by the security forces not only protects the agent from the point of view of the legality and proportionality of their actions, but also protects the citizen, because there is a de facto record of what happened. There are no situations here that sometimes happen to be one word against another, which was not quite like that. All this disappears”, he stressed.
Antero Luís stated that the use of these cameras will be done “with great rigor”, where there is now a platform, where everything is “controlled by the hour, minute and second”, and mechanisms for use.
The Secretary of State explained that the recording only starts after the police officer says he will start recording. “It’s not a camera that’s always recording. It’s not for the police to walk down the street with it on. There has to be a signal from the agent that he’s going to start recording”, he said.
Antero Luís considered the cameras “fundamental to protect the agent in situations where there is intervention with citizens and there may be some kind of quarrel or confrontation”.
Simultaneously, he added, “the citizen also knows that the intervention that is being made before him is having a record that is controlled, audited and viewed by the legal entities, if necessary, or by the National Data Protection Commission (CNPD), which controls these mechanisms from the point of view of use”.
Antero Luís stressed that the use of ‘bodycams’ “is usually only justified in a certain type of situation”, not being necessary “in normal patrol”.
“The Government needs this authorization, that the parliament approve this legislation, and then do everything that is necessary, from an administrative point of view, and provide the forces with these means”, he stressed.
The “bodycams”, small video cameras incorporated in the uniforms of PSP agents, have been one of the instruments claimed by the police and the subject of debate, namely following some media cases in which images of police operations are disseminated via mobile phones.
The proposed new law on video surveillance that the Government approved today will also introduce the use of cameras in unmanned aircraft (‘drones’) and other types of security forces vehicles.
Antero Luís stated that the new law expands the scope of the use of cameras in operational matters of the security forces, namely in border control and in search and rescue operations, making it possible to use ‘drones’ to carry out search and rescue of people.
According to the secretary of state, the proposed law that was approved today will repeal the 2005 law on video surveillance, which had been amended in 2012. The government official said that the executives proposal will also bring the new data protection legislation into line with the law. .
“There is a set of realities that were not foreseen at the beginning in the law and that today it is urgent to clarify and basically densify”, he referred.
Antero Luís also referred that the Ministry of Internal Administration had talks with the CNPD about this new law, being heard by the Assembly of the Republic in the context of the preparation of the proposal.