The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
Body cameras improve road safety in Nepal
Home to eight of the world’s highest mountains, Nepal is famed for its beautiful terrain. But that same terrain can make driving dangerous.
Nearly 200 people lose their lives in the more than 6,000 road accidents that occur in Nepal every year.
A combination of poor road infrastructure, an increasing number of vehicles on the road, inexperienced drivers and a lack of knowledge of driving laws, has led to a rising number of traffic accidents in recent years.
To help address this issue, UNOPS, with funding from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), equipped police officers in Nepal’s Metropolitan Traffic Police – the primary traffic operation and management division for Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts of Kathmandu Valley – with a range of body-mounted digital recording equipment.
Traffic officers stationed in some of Kathmandu Valley’s busiest streets wear GoPro cameras, backpack batteries and chest harnesses. The body-mounted cameras record traffic, as well as the interactions the officers have with the public, which can then be accessed via a computer-based retrieval archive.
Unlike in the past, road users who dispute infringement claims made by the traffic officers can now ask for further explanation. And the burden of proof lies with the officer with the camera, who must show evidence of an infraction before issuing a ticket.
The introduction of the GoPro cameras has not only helped traffic police improve traffic management in Kathmandu Valley, but it has also led to road users following traffic laws and being accountable for their behaviour.
Footage from the cameras is also used to both educate people on traffic laws, as well as to help raise awareness of unsafe driving practices.
The result? “The equipment has been effective in catching traffic rule violators and in improving both traffic and road users’ behaviour in Kathmandu,” said Prakash Aryal, Inspector General, Nepal Police.
About the project
This project was part of DFID’s Modernization and Improvement of Policing Project, under the Integrated Programme for Strengthening Security and Justice. The programme aims to improve security and justice services for 1.85 million underprivileged people – including 1 million women and girls.