Last week, Viet Nam News asked readers to share their thoughts about the proposal to provide 200 helmet cameras to catch traffic violators. Some readers applaud the idea, some do not.
Here are some of the responses:
Rick Powell, Australian, Bali
Although it may be for gathering evidence, I feel the devices are awkward to use, have small battery life and need operators who can accurately use them.
They would have to be set at a wide angle to capture many offences and a reasonable distance from the subject they are filming. Money would be better spent on more patrols. I use helmet cameras a lot, but footage is not real good for policed work.
Phil, a tourist
The concept is fine. But there are many more fundamental issues that need addressing as well. Are ‘camcops' good for developing safety through fines?
Can they stem the endemic corruption allegedly involved in traffic police work, or it will be a case of wiping the tape for money?
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi
Body cameras are a good plan. Catching drunk drivers stumbling around or rich people pulling power trips will be stopped cold. If it becomes a cash cow to milk generally law-abiding citizens rushing home from work, then the idea is not so good.
I watch with great interest on Youtube a series of videos based in America called "cop blocking." (See www.copblock.org for more information.)
Some people hate cops and are troublemakers. This is even more reason cops need cameras as proof and additional protection.
Recordings must be independently archived and retrieved. More cameras can only mean more eyes, more scrutiny and eventually higher standards that will improve behaviour.
As I write this, I was watching CNN as a South Carolina mayor discussed another shooting. My feeling for humanity makes me feel I had not seen it, but I am grateful someone courageous was there to record the incident.
Ngoc Khanh, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
I applauded the proposal. Hope it deters traffic rule violations. Helmet cameras also prevent traffic polices from receiving bribes from violators.
Videos recorded by the cameras should be open to public via outdoor big screens or shown online.
If road users knew their activities were being recorded, they would not violate traffic rules. The cameras would be helpful in reducing violations - and bribes.
Bui Minh Giang, Vietnamese, Prague
Anyway, it's a good idea! It is a good way to deal with traffic violations and also record traffic police interactions with the public.
I heard that police forces in the United States, Britain, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore don body cameras.
An online article in the Straits Times says that in Singapore, cameras can record both video and audio. They are worn in a visible position on the front of the officer's uniform.
Hong Kong Police believe that body cameras will allow officers to better prevent and detect crimes and minor offences, according to futureasia.gov.
Huong Huyen, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
I prefer cameras to be installed along streets and connected with a monitoring centre. The recorded information can be used to detect violations as well as inform people about traffic flows.
This has been applied in Ha Noi and I think it's very useful. With helmet-cameras, police can have evidences to establish violations that drivers will not admit. So, the helmet cameras are more useful for the police than for drivers.
But I wonder if police can intervene with the recording process of the cameras?.
I heard that helmet cameras are used in many other countries. It's great to have a trial in HCM City. However, I think funding should be spent on improving people's awareness of traffic safety or improving road quality. — VNS