According to Antero Luís, the Deputy Secretary of State and the Internal Administration, the proposal that the Government is going to submit to parliament contemplates the possibility of PSP and GNR officers using portable video surveillance cameras in police interventions, more commonly known as bodycams.
For the Secretary of State, the 'bodycams' are “a fundamental 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”, he stressed.
Antero Luís stated that the use of these cameras will be done “with great rigor”, and there will be 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 they will start recording”.
“It's not a camera that is 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 stated that bodycams are “essential 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 being made before him is being recorded, controlled, audited and seen by the judicial authorities, if necessary, or by the National Data Protection Commission (CNPD) who controls these mechanisms from the point of view of use”.
Antero Luís stressed that the use of 'bodycams' “is normally only justified in a certain type of situation”, not being necessary “in normal patrolling”.
The “bodycams”, small video cameras incorporated in the uniforms of the PSP agents, have been one of the instruments demanded by the police and the target of debate, namely in the wake of some media cases in which images of police operations are disseminated through mobile phones.
The proposed new law on video surveillance that the Government has approved will also introduce the use of cameras in unmanned aircraft ('drones') and other types of vehicles used by the security forces.
Antero Luís stated that the new law broadens the scope of the use of cameras in operational matters of the security forces, namely in border control and search and rescue operations, making it possible to use 'drones' to carry out the search and rescue of people.
According to the secretary of state, the proposed law that was approved will repeal the 2005 law on video surveillance, which had been amended in 2012.