Body Cam Jackets For Customs Boarding Officers: CBIC Emphasis On The Need For Transparency
A circular from the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) outlines how to increase transparency by using boarding jackets equipped with body-worn cameras (BWCs) that can record video and audio for use by the boarding officer.
Every ship that enters the country notifies the Customs and Port Authorities of its arrival. Boarding officers are typically the first members of the Customs Service to board a ship as it approaches the Indian border. They are the most visible members of the Customs Service to shipping companies, terminal operators, logistic partners, customs brokers, businesspeople, crew members, passengers, etc.
The boarding officer represents our nation as an ambassador, and it is expected that they smoothly start and carry out customs formalities and procedures.
The Nhava Sheva and Ahmedabad Customs Zones have implemented the wearing of boarding jackets fitted with body-worn cameras (BWC) since August 2022 in order to improve transparency and ease of doing business. It is done to present the role of the Boarding Officer more professionally, to keep scope for upfront evidence in case of an offense or likely offense, and to enhance the protection of the Customs Officer's interest against frivolous complaints.
The BWC used by the Boarding Officer is a stand-alone device without Wi-Fi or SIM functionality. If the Safety Officer of the Vessel carrying hazardous cargo opines that the usage of the BWC is not safe in certain areas inside the Vessel or the entire Vessel, then the endorsement to that effect shall be taken from Safety Officer, and the Boarding Officer will not use BWC while in identified areas if required. The Boarding Officer shall inform the Assistant/Deputy Commissioner (Boarding) who in turn will bring this to the notice of the Joint/Additional Commissioner (Boarding) for independent cross-verification.
Circular No. 07/2022-Customs