Police officers on patrol will start using body cameras early next year in an investment worth nearly €1 million. 

The use of bodycams enhances the officers’ personal protection as well as the protection of people they deal with in the course of their duties. Several police officers have told Times of Malta that the recent claim of a man being brutally beaten by the police for not wearing a mask in Paceville would have been settled much quicker had bodycams already been in use.

The alleged beating was investigated by the professional standards office within the force and the mother, who posted the alleged police brutality on social media, and her son, who had made the claim, are now being investigated in connection with filing a false report.

A tender for the five-year lease of 500 bodycams and all ancillary equipment, which is valued at €942,000 excluding VAT, has been awarded to Motorola Solutions Germany GmbH.

Bodycam is sealed and footage cannot be tampered with

“We are currently awaiting delivery and this equipment is expected to be deployed early next year, following the necessary administrative set-up and training required,” a police spokesman said.

The bodycams will be given to officers before they go out on patrol and returned at the end of every shift, a source in the police said. It is sealed and its footage cannot be tampered with.

When an officer returns to base, the bodycam is docked and the footage automatically downloaded. The officer must then ensure that certain footage is retained if it needs to be used as evidence in criminal proceedings.

This kind of equipment is used widely in other European and Western countries.

In an interview last August, Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà had said that several police forces around the world have seen a drastic decline in false allegations made against their officers after bodycams were introduced.

The footage from the equipment is important for police accountability but it can also be used and presented in court proceedings, he said.

It is especially useful when a claim is made that someone has been manhandled by police officers before, during or after arrest.

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