RCMP agrees to outfit some officers with body cameras

Jun 9 2020, 2:30 pm

After Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday that he is committed to discussing police body cameras with provinces this week, the RCMP Commissioner said she “agrees it is critically important for Canadians to feel protected by police,” and “is committed to take whatever steps are required” to enhance that trust.

In a statement to Daily Hive, the RCMP said this stance by Commissioner Brenda Lucki comes after a conversation between her and Trudeau, in which the two “discussed a variety of subjects related to the RCMP, policing, and current events.”

During the conversation, “The use of body-worn cameras by RCMP officers was discussed as a means of ensuring accurate evidence gathering and accountability.”

As part of the process, “we have reviewed previous research and studies to draw best practices, with the desire to implement body-worn video across the RCMP,” the statement said. “The Commissioner has confirmed that the RCMP will engage in work and discussion with policing partners and the NPF on a broader rollout of body-worn cameras.”

In addition, the organization said it will “continue to work closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to ensure any concerns he has are addressed.”

In the meantime, the RCMP “continually reviews its policies, procedures, and equipment to ensure it is using the most effective tools in law enforcement.”

As part of its statement, the RCMP said body-worn video “provides increased transparency, while also providing a first-person view of what a police officer encounters, oftentimes in highly dynamic and tense situations.”

Speaking on Monday about his conversation with Lucki, Trudeau said that the topic of Mounties wearing body cameras was raised “as one of the things that people had been talking about, and the Commissioner pointed out that there had been studies and pilot projects.”

He noted that “there were concerns around the technology [and the] the logistics involved – particularly in some of our more remote areas, and also concerns around the financial cost of this.”

However, “in that discussion, it became clear that those were practical challenges that could be resolved and it was probably an idea that’s time has come.”

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