Bengal plans hidden button camera for Kolkata traffic cops

By bappaditya paul

Button Camera

WEST Bengal government is planning to equip the traffic cops in Kolkata with hidden cameras to deal with incidents of misbehaviour by traffic violators and vice-versa.

The plan, recently mooted by Kolkata Police commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha, is now under active consideration of the Bengal home department, which is headed by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Going by the proposal, while out on the road on duty, each of the traffic constables and the sergeants of Kolkata Police will carry a button camera hidden in their uniform. Such cameras will wirelessly stay connected to the central traffic control at police headquarters Lalbazar and stream both video and audio.

Traffic cops will not be able to switch off the cameras as per their wish, because the feed will be under constant monitoring at the control room. Thus, whenever there is an allegation of undue action or misbehaviour by a traffic cop, the video will be reviewed to verify the allegation.

Likewise, police will be able to expose traffic violators, who misbehave with traffic personnel and then cry foul instead. This is particularly true as regards the affluent class and those having links with the politicians in power. An incident like this had taken place in May this year at Jadavpur involving the niece of Kolkata Mayor Sovan Chatterjee.

Asked about this, Bengal home secretary Basudev Banerjee said: “Kolkata CP had recently visited London with the Chief Minister and there he saw the effective use of hidden cameras by traffic police. The police in the USA and several other European countries also use such cameras. Thus, he has recently sent a formal proposal to us on this.”

But how soon the plan can be implemented? “We are now actively considering the proposal and are examining the various aspects of it. The plan will then be placed before the Chief Minister for her to take a final call,” Banerjee said.

(Bappaditya Paul is editor of NEWSMEN, West Bengal, India. This report first appeared on www.newsmen.in on 30 October 2015.) 

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