Rio police start using body cameras

Rio De Janeiro police
Photo: Antonio Scorza/Shutterstock

Rio de Janeiro state police are starting to use body cameras as part of their uniform this week. Initially, some 1,600 military police officers will wear the devices, with a total 21,500 officers expected to ultimately use the kit. “As well as guaranteeing the transparency requested by civil society, the cameras will provide the police with more judicial security in their patrolling actions and checks,” Rio state governor Cláudio Castro said on Monday.

The military police state secretary, Colonel Luiz Henrique Pires, said that the use of body cameras will likely bring changes to the behavior of both police and civilians, but that the aim is not “to punish or supervise anyone.”  

Public security experts associate the use of body cameras with lower levels of lethal police violence. Rio’s police force is infamous for its high levels of lethality. Last week, an operation jointly carried out by Rio’s state civil police and the federal highway police (PRF) resulted in at least 23 civilian deaths.

São Paulo has already experimented with body cameras. Police lethality dropped by 31 percent in a year — 85 percent among precincts using the devices.