Are body cameras for bus fare inspectors necessary?

Buses at Joo Koon Bus Interchange.
Buses at Joo Koon Bus Interchange.PHOTO: CMG

Recently, after I boarded bus service 979 from Bukit Panjang interchange, a fare inspector wearing the SMRT uniform and lanyard checked passengers' fare cards.

It was a new and unwelcome surprise to find the inspector wearing a body camera with a yellow strip reading "recording in progress".

This was my first encounter with a bus inspector wearing the device.

There are already multiple cameras on public buses that capture the images of passengers and their comings and goings. Are we overdoing it by adding body cameras?

When police officers were equipped with body cameras, we rationalised the move by pointing to situations that could turn violent, hence the need for recording and evidence-gathering.

Are we taking paranoia and the need for legal cover too far by putting body cameras on bus fare inspectors?

All the talk about growing kindness, empathy, trust and the kampung spirit among people in Singapore appears to be mere talk when institutions and companies have so little trust in the people that they have to put body cameras on front-line staff.

Where is society going if we come to believe the worst of our own people and that people can be trusted only if they are monitored?

Narayanan Anand Chandrasekar

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2019, with the headline 'Are body cameras for bus fare inspectors necessary?'. Subscribe