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High-Tech Police Helmets to Reveal Rioters’ Faces

Posted April. 05, 2007 08:02,   


A plan is being discussed to equip riot police with helmets with mini video cameras installed to collect evidence in illegal and violent demonstrations, announced the Korea National Police Agency on April 4.

The helmets have a button-sized pinhole with a 300,000-pixel mini digital camcorder built in, and each helmet costs about a million won, according to the police. Visuals recorded by the helmet can either be transmitted in real time to an external display or saved to an internal memory device.

A KNPA official said, “As the current system which conscripts riot policemen is to be scrapped by 2012, and therefore, the number of personnel will possibly drop by 20,000 to 30,000, we had to introduce cutting-edge technology to keep control over violent rallies.”

Currently, these kinds of helmets are being used in firefighting and leisure activities in Korea, and in guarding operations in other countries. The KNPA introduced the helmets at the office of Seoul Metropolitan Mobile Police in Sindang-dong, Seoul yesterday and announced that whether to adopt the cameras will be decided only after they pass qualification tests in actual protests.

“We are still a long way from making our decision, and we will make it only after testing the camera in various aspects, including whether it can produce recognizable footage in shaky conditions,” said a KNPA official.

Earlier this year, the country’s law enforcement agency stated that in order to reinforce its capability to collect hard evidence against violent demonstrators, it is considering the introduction of high-tech equipment such as remote-controlled reconnaissance drones capable of taking photos, and systems that can detect facial patterns.