Still too early to assess impact of traffic cops wearing body cameras over Easters, says RTMC
DURBAN - Hundreds of traffic officers were issued with body cameras ahead of the busy Easter weekend.
In a grand launch hosted just days before the long weekend, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula explained that the body cameras would support officers in gathering evidence and improve conviction rates of motorists who broke the law.
However, Simon Zwane, the spokesperson for the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), said it was still too early to report on the impact the body cameras had over the Easter weekend.
He said detailed information will become available when the technology is rolled out nationally.
Last week, the department said the RTMC will also be investing in drones to help with identifying hazards on the road as well as help officers identify reckless drivers and those driving at high speeds.
According to a statement from the Department of Transport, the cameras will be a useful tool in dealing with high levels of bribery by providing a factual account of events.
Zwane said the body cameras have so far been introduced within the National Traffic Police and officers have welcomed the initiative.
"This will protect them against false accusations that they sometimes encounter from resistant motorist and refuse to cooperate with them," he said.
Zwane said it would take about three years to roll the body cameras to national, provincial and local government authorities.
He explained that the camera can be switched on remotely from the control room or by the supervisor should an officer decide to switch it off.
"An officer who switches off the camera without valid reason can also face disciplinary action. This technology is used widely in other jurisdiction outside South Africa and has been shown to improve the efficiency of law enforcement," he said.