Biometric scanners track police officers at work in the Philippines, Canada

Police officers in Manila will from now on be monitored with a biometric fingerprint system for attendance to prevent repeated work absence or late arrival, an initiative launched by the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), writes Philippine Canadian Inquirer.

The system became operational on Dec. 2, 2019 and it is used to monitor the workforce at regional headquarters and support units inside Camp Bagong Diwa.

According to a statement from NCRPO acting chief, Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, the new biometric system would be used for access control and identification, and it would track the work attendance of more than 1,300 police officers, with only 190 left to register.

“This technological system forms part of our security policies. It is a coherent approach in order to account and monitor our men so as to stamp out the erring cops,” he said.

The devices are locked each day at 7PM when an attendance report is generated by the NCRPO Information Technology Office (ITO). The data is used in payroll processing and penalties for absences or tardiness.

Future plans include expansion to five districts of Metro Manila such as the QCPD, Manila Police District, Southern Police District, Eastern Police District, and Northern Police District to eliminate long queues.

Employees marked absent will have to write explanation letters which are then evaluated. If not found reasonable or justified, penalties will be imposed. Those caught interfering with the biometric machines risk sanctions.

Canadian police work attendance monitored with biometric hand scanners

Canadian police service in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is introducing 11 biometric hand scanners at its downtown headquarters’ entrances and exits to track officer attendance, CBC reports. The police union immediately responded naming the modernization initiative “another slap in the members’ face.”

The biometric system project is enclosed in the CAD$158,000 (USD$121,000) human-resources upgrade authorized by city council in 2018.

Senior staff want to use the system to keep track of officers’ whereabouts, especially of those with specialized training.

“There are times when supervisors need to know where employees may be. This system will allow supervisors to understand if employees are still in HQ, or have left for the day,” reads the original proposal request.

At the moment, Winnipeg police uses punch cards to monitor attendance, system considered outdated by Chief Danny Smyth.

“Right now, we’re using the lists and calling people at home because our scheduling system is pretty old,” he said in an interview with CBC.

Winnipeg Police Board chair and Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood representative Coun. Kevin Klein trusts this project will enhance responsibility.

“Given the scrutiny that the service is subjected to on a regulars basis, and especially in light of the scandal involving planning, property and development, this system will allow management and frontline supervisors [to have] the ability to account for on-duty employees,” reads a memo from Smyth. “It also provides an additional layer of building security.”

The Winnipeg Police Association is concerned about priorities, following cuts to police resources and pension plan changes.

“We have systems in place already that quite accurately track where the members are. We have card access, we have supervisor, we have GPS, we have radios, so the biometrics is a bit of a surprise for us,” said head of the Winnipeg Police Association Moe Sabourin.

“Other than this being another slap in the member’s face, this is pretty much saying that we don’t trust you to be in the workplace at the right time.”

Furthermore, unaware of what is happening with the biometric data collected or who will access it, the union is getting legal advice on the matter.

The scanners will be functional in the first part of 2020.

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