Video cameras for Police reduce corruption and contribute to more safety

It is for the first time in the Republic of Moldova when portable video cameras became a must-have for most of border police officers, alongside the gun, handcuffs and radio stations. The equipment was provided to the Border Police half a year ago and is meant to contribute to fighting corruption and ensuring employees’ security. 240 video devices were procured by a project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), from budgetary support provided by the European Union. The respective devices were distributed to the major border crossing points, including Chisinau International Airport, Otaci, Leuseni, Tudora, Cahul, and Sculeni.

The video devices look like cellphones and are attached to Police uniform, recording video and images during their activity. The images are stored in a database which can be accessed only by several employees. The equipment is set to avoid deleting and editing the recordings. All Border Police officers were trained to use the equipment, and a new internal regulation was approved for regulate the use of the equipment and of the recordings.

14 out of the total number of devices ended up in Chisinau International Airport which registers daily huge flows of persons. Before the procurement of the respective cameras, there were a lot of disagreements between the passengers and the employees, in majority of cases because passengers were trying to take prohibited substances on the airplanes – such as liquids in recipients over 100 milliliters.

“Sometimes travelers want to transport honey in jars of 1 liter for their relatives from abroad. Although we tell them that they may leave the prohibited things with the persons that are accompanying them to the airport, still conflicts arise in some cases,” says Chiril Drozdovschi, Head of the Management and Planning Service, Border Police Sector, Chisinau International Airport.

If before passengers would file about 8-9 complains every month, now they register maximum 1-2 complaints.

“The video cameras make accountable both the passengers and employees. Travelers become calmer and avoid conflict situations. Previously the review of a complaint would last for a long period of time, as we did not have evidence to show the conduct of our employees in different conflict situations,” mentions Chiril Drozdovschi.

Other ten video cameras were distributed to Palanca Border Crossing Point. The equipment is used by the employees ensuring the travelers’ and vehicles’ control, as well as by intervention groups.

“We use them on permanent basis. The camera is on, the person is informed that she/he is being recorded. And this is like a psychological impediment for persons who intend doing illegal things”, states Denis Mitrea, head of Palanca Border Crossing Point.

According to Nicolae Plecan, Specialist of the Assistance Projects Section under the General Border Police Inspectorate, the procurement of portable video cameras for Police was carried out in line with international practices: “These devices are very efficient in fighting corruption, as well as in conflicts between travelers and employees.”

Thanks to the efficient management of funds by UNDP, additionally 230 tactical vests were procured. All devices used by Border Police officers are attached to these vests. As well, three off-road vehicles were procured.

The Project “Strengthening capacities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and its internal subdivisions for the effective implementation of the sector reform agenda” was launched in January 2017 with a cumulative budget of 1,801,761 USD, including the contribution of the MIA and beneficiary subdivisions and of UNDP Moldova. The overall goal of the project is to contribute to the enhancement of the operational and functional framework of MIA for the efficient, transparent and inclusive implementation of the sector reform agenda in the areas of public order, civil protection, border security, migration and asylum in compliance with the national priorities and international commitments.