All SCDF paramedics to be equipped with body-worn cameras by 2020

The body-worn camera, which is a compact device worn over the ear, will be rolled out progressively to all paramedics by next year.
The body-worn camera, which is a compact device worn over the ear, will be rolled out progressively to all paramedics by next year.PHOTOS: SCDF
The body-worn camera, which is a compact device worn over the ear, will be rolled out progressively to all paramedics by next year.
The body-worn camera, which is a compact device worn over the ear, will be rolled out progressively to all paramedics by next year.PHOTO: SCDF

SINGAPORE - Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) paramedics will be equipped with body-worn cameras from Friday (Feb 1), in a bid to improve the quality and effectiveness of the force's emergency medical services.

The SCDF said in a statement on Thursday that the body-worn camera, which is a compact device worn over the ear, will be rolled out progressively to all paramedics by 2020.

The recordings from these cameras will be used for coaching and training purposes, and to help the SCDF fine-tune its medical procedures.

The devices will also provide greater accountability on the interactions between ambulance crew members and emergency medical services patients.

The SCDF said that in the longer term, it intends to incorporate live-streaming capabilities into the cameras, which will allow doctors off-site to provide medical advice to paramedics attending to complex cases on the ground, if necessary.

To respect the privacy of patients in certain situations, such as in maternity cases, paramedics will be able to stop the recording on the devices.

Assistant Commissioner Yazid Abdullah, who is the director of the SCDF's medical department, said that the body-worn cameras are part of the force's efforts to use technology to enhance its emergency ambulance operations and improve patient outcomes.

"At the same time, we have put in place robust control measures to regulate the use of the body-worn cameras and the recorded data," he added.

For instance, only authorised personnel will be allowed to handle the collection, storage and use of the data, the SCDF said in its statement.

Any access to the data will be logged to enable audit checks and the data will also be encrypted for added security.

The SCDF will also ensure that the data is deleted after 90 days from the date of recording, unless there is a reason to retain it, such as for police investigations.

"Any officer who misuses the body-worn cameras or data will be dealt with severely," the statement said.

Since 2015, police officers here have started using body-worn cameras to facilitate police investigations and the gathering of evidence, among other capabilities.

The cameras, which can capture audio and video, are worn on the front of an officer’s uniform. It was fully rolled out by June 2016.

In recent years, other organisations, such as the National Environment Agency and Sats Security, have also been progressively equipping its officers with body-worn cameras.