Deaths by police in SP fall 61% after installation of body cameras

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Deaths committed by military police officers on duty in 2022 fell to the lowest level since 2001 in the state of São Paulo. In comparison with the previous year alone, the drop was 39%, according to data from the Secretariat of Public Security.

Compared to two years ago, the reduction is 61%.

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Experts and authorities, who classify the drop as “significant”, point to the use of body cameras, the acquisition of more non-lethal weapons and the creation of bodies to monitor the conduct of police officers as the main reasons for the drop in police lethality.

Official data points to the death of 256 people by military police officers on duty in 2022. It is the lowest number in the last two decades. In 2021, 423 cases were reported. In 2020, it had stayed at 659 deaths.

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Among off-duty police officers, there was an increase: incidents with deaths rose from 120 to 126 compared to the last two years. Considering the total number of occurrences (service and days off), there were 382 cases of PM lethality in 2022, or a drop of 29.6% compared to 2021 (543 deaths).

This index is the lowest since 2005.

In the view of experts, one of the factors responsible for the fall is the use of body cameras.

Attached to the uniforms, the cameras record images of police activities in real time and transmit the data to a central station. This allows tracking of actions and storage in the cloud.

According to the Secretariat of Public Security, “all approaches, inspections, searches, sweeps, accidents and other interactions with the public” are automatically recorded.

Implemented in August 2020 and expanded throughout 2021, the cameras are now part of the routine of 179 police units, in 66 of the 134 PM battalions, with more than 10,000 body equipment in use.


The use of cameras was one of the central themes of the electoral campaign for the state government last year. One of the most controversial promises of the then government candidate Tarcísio de Freitas (Republicans) was to review the camera program installed in the uniforms of the military police.

Subsequently, Tarcísio backed down. “We are not going to change anything. For those who are waiting for us to change this program now, we are not going to change it”, declared the governor at the beginning of the month.

A similar position was also adopted by the Secretary of Public Security, Guilherme Derrite. He even hinted at changing the program, but then withdrew.

Last Friday (27), at a press conference, Derrite stated that he intends to expand the use of cameras, but with an operational focus. The equipment will be used, for example, to read the license plates of stolen vehicles or to preserve crime scenes.

“We will give operational functionality to the cameras. In addition to the inspection and control purpose, which is valid, we can use it to read vehicles with stolen license plates, for example. Or even in new forms of policing, such as environmental policing, with inspections in dense forests and georeferencing technology to know where the police are located.”


A study by the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), released at the end of last year, pointed out that the use of body cameras on the uniforms of the São Paulo Military Police prevented 104 deaths.

According to the study, body cameras had a positive impact, reducing by 57% the number of deaths resulting from police actions in relation to police units where this type of technology has not yet been implemented.

The study’s conclusions emptied the discourse adopted in the election campaign by the elected governor that cameras would inhibit and embarrass police officers during work.

The revision of the monitoring program faces resistance at the top of the state security forces.

Executive director of the Brazilian Public Security Forum, Samira Bueno recognizes the importance of equipment, but claims that they are not solely responsible for the drop in lethality.

The expert cites a study carried out in partnership with Unicef, between 2020 and 2021, which shows a reduction in lethality in all military battalions, including those that did not use the filming equipment.

“The body camera is important, but it is not a panacea, the definitive solution to the problems of excessive use of force”, he says.


Among the other initiatives that, in his opinion, also contributed to the drop are the creation of the Military Police Non-Compliance Mitigation Commission, a kind of compliance area of ​​the corporation, made up of officers, to assess cases of use of force , such as deaths and injuries in alleged clashes with military police in the state.

Another important factor is the acquisition of more non-lethal weapons. Today there are around 7,500 tasers (stun weapons) in São Paulo.

“(The PM is) the third largest police force in the world to use this type of equipment, behind only the police in New York (USA) and London (UK)”.

Yesterday, Secretary Derrite highlighted education and training as factors that also influence, in his view, the reduction of deaths by police officers.

“In addition to the body cameras, which are a defense of the police themselves, preventing the criminal from trying to face the State, in the figure of the police, the training of police officers is essential to not put themselves at risk”.

Derrite even questioned the expression “police lethality”. In his view, the most appropriate expression would be “criminal lethality”. “The policeman is always the first victim of a confrontation. He’s the one who gets the first shot. I call it criminal lethality. It is our commitment not to encourage confrontation.”

On the 12th of this month, police officers from the Rondas Ostensivas Tobias de Aguiar (Rota) killed two suspects during an incident that ended on Rua da Consolação, in the central region of the capital.

The police claimed to be chasing suspects linked to a gang that robbed condominiums in Greater São Paulo. A third suspect survived in the case.

The approach is under analysis by the Department of Homicide and Personal Protection (DHPP), of the Civil Police. The images recorded by the police will be analyzed to verify the version presented by the agents.

Secretary talks about lack of officers in the police

Policing in the state faces the biggest shortage of men in its recent history. The diagnosis is made by the new Secretary of Public Security, Guilherme Derrite.

“No one is here to cover the sun with a sieve. We inherited the worst shortage of police personnel in history. We are working with around 15% in the Military Police, 25% in the Technical-Scientific Police and almost 33% in the Civil Police”, he said, at the Military Police Operations Center (Copom).

The secretary recognizes that the lack of police creates challenges for operations.

“The PM has mechanisms and strategies to identify criminal stains to make the displacement of the policing that, in theory, would not go to that region, to curb these crimes. But, with the lag, we still cannot prevent all crimes from ceasing from one hour to the next”, he evaluates.

In view of this scenario, the folder has been trying to increase the staff. In addition to the publication and nomination of 878 new soldiers, published in the Official Gazette, there is an ongoing competition for the Civil Police with 2,939 vacancies, 250 of which are police chiefs, 1,600 clerks, 189 coroners.

“Probably, we will have concurrence of competitions so that we can recover the gap in staff”, says the secretary.

Source: CNN Brasil

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