SCDF paramedics to be equipped with body-worn cameras
From today, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) paramedics will be equipped with body-worn cameras.
In a press release yesterday, SCDF said the camera, a compact device worn over the ear, will improve the quality and effectiveness of its Emergency Medical Services.
It expects to provide such cameras to all paramedics by 2020.
The recordings from these cameras will be used for coaching and training, as well as helping fine-tune medical procedures.
The devices will also provide greater accountability on interactions between its ambulance crew and patients, SCDF said.
More SCDF officers, including paramedics, face verbal and physical abuse while on duty. Last year, the force said, there were 26 reported cases of its front-line officers being abused, up from 23 the year before.
To protect the data, only authorised personnel will be allowed to handle its collection, storage and use.
Any access to the encrypted data will be logged to enable audit checks.
SCDF will also ensure the data is deleted after 90 days from the date of recording, unless there is justification to retain it.
Paramedics will stop recording in certain situations to respect the privacy of patients, such as in maternity cases.
The SCDF also warned that any officer who misuses the camera or its data will be dealt with severely.
Assistant Commissioner Yazid Abdullah, the director of SCDF's medical department, said: "This is part of our efforts to use technology to enhance our 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".
In the future, the SCDF intends to incorporate live-streaming capabilities into the cameras, which will allow off-site doctors to provide medical advice to paramedics attending to complex cases on the ground.
SCDF joins other organisations like the National Environment Agency and the Singapore Police Force in equipping its officers with body-worn cameras.