Coronavirus: Police officers to wear bodycams

Coronavirus: Police officers to wear bodycams
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The police officers of the municipalities of Asse, Merchtem, Opwijk and Wemmel (AMOW) in the Flemish-Brabant province will start wearing bodycams to uphold the new coronavirus (Covid-19) measures.

The purpose of the bodycams is to make it easier to detect violations of the ban on gathering. Over the past few months, the cameras have been tested and are now being used by the officers who check compliance with the coronavirus measures. The images will be used to support the official report, so there will be less room for discussion.

"The bodycams are primarily for situations that threaten to get out of hand," said spokesperson Fred Scraeyen to VRT. "But in these coronavirus times, they offer an additional advantage, as they make it easier to register violations of the measures," he added.

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"It was our intention to approve the purchase at the municipal council in March, but the council was postponed because of the coronavirus," said Koen Van Elsen, the mayor of Asse and chairman of the police college, to Het Laatste Nieuws. "Now, a ministerial decree allows us to use the cameras already. The other municipalities in our police district had also reacted positively to this measure before," he added.

The bodycams will be systematically used to record gatherings, shops and catering establishments that do not respect the obligation to close, as well as to record people threatening or spitting at police officers.

"The body cams are constantly worn by our officers," said Scraeyen. "But important to know is that the cameras are only activated after the civilians have been warned that they are being filmed," he added.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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