RCMP to begin field-testing body cameras ahead of national rollout

By David Fraser
THE CANADIAN PRESS

The RCMP says it expects officers in three parts of the country to start field-testing body-worn cameras in the coming days.

Members of the RCMP in Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Alberta will have audio and video from the cameras captured and uploaded onto a digital evidence management system.

The RCMP says up to 300 cameras will be rolled out in those locations.

The field tests will be used to help inform the broader use of body cameras in RCMP attachments across the country.

That national rollout is not expected for another 18 months, but the RCMP says that when it happens, the standard will be for Mounties to wear the cameras when they are working on the front lines.

Police say the cameras can help increase trust between law enforcement and communities, because the footage that is captured provides an authentic lens on interactions between officers and the public.

Earlier this year, the Alberta government announced that body-worn cameras would become mandatory for all officers working in the province.

The RCMP announced an operational policy for the cameras last October, and estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 cameras will be deployed across the country.

RCMP interim Commissioner Mike Duheme said in a statement Canadians are rightfully demanding more accountability from the RCMP and the force is taking steps to enhance trust.

“The rollout of body-worn cameras to RCMP officers is one more step towards building a more modern and accountable RCMP,” he said.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said in a statement that transparency and accountability are essential to maintaining trust in law enforcement.

He said the RCMP’s decision “will help it foster trust with the communities it serves.”