After a year-long study of body cameras around the world and a six-month pilot program, the Israel Police has decided to acquire 8,000 of them for their officers, The Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday.
The 60 million-shekel program is designed to keep police on best behavior and reduce the number of complaints about bad behavior.
In the pilot project, a 35 percent drop in complaints was recorded in participating police districts.
“The encounter between an officer and a citizen will be better for both sides,” Dep.-Ch. Yosi Bahar, who oversaw the project, said. “And of course if there are not-good events, we will handle them and this will be a tool to determine the truth.”
The body cameras along with vehicle cameras are slated to go into service in 2018 to 2019. Officers will be instructed to manually activate the camera when responding to an incident. At the end of a work shift, all of the camera’s video is automatically downloaded and stored in a database for at least seven years, with no option to delete or edit the footage.
Following angry protests by thousands of Ethiopian-Israelis against police brutality, an interministerial task force appointed to review the situation recommended the introduction of body cameras.
“A camera on every police officer on the ground will bring about a revolution in the transparency of the police’s work vis-à-vis the public,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement on Thursday.
“The cameras will moderate the policeman’s behavior as well as the citizen’s response, and this will create a significant change in every police meeting with the public.”