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SPVM officers and body cameras?

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A pilot project which began in May of 2016 and ended in April of 2017, had 78 SPVM officers testing out ‘Axon Body 2’ body cameras while on patrol – but it seems even though most citizens who were stopped during that time didn’t mind being recorded, the police are seeing it quite differently. According to a report submitted on January 29th to Montreal city council, close to 90% of the officers simply don’t want them.

In the report (now up on the SPVM’s website), two-thirds of the officers who took part in the project said the body cameras would ‘de-personalize their interactions with citizens’ and 89% felt like they were being monitored.

Axon Body 2 Camera – Axon Website

The report also concluded that the body cameras had ‘little impact on interventions, present logistical challenges’ and ‘left most officers who had to wear them feeling as if they’re under surveillance’. Other concerns were that they were too heavy, expensive, had limited benefits and that having to manually activate the camera in an emergency or in a dangerous situation presented an unnecessary logistical challenge. They claimed officers spent ‘more time reviewing camera footage and adding information from it to their reports and that’s time that could be spent on patrol’ and that ‘the project did not unequivocally demonstrate that portable cameras promote the transparency of police interventions, strengthen trust between the police and the citizen and ensure the safety of police’. The report also adds that outfitting all 3,000 patrol officers with the body cameras would cost $17.4 million over five years and deploying the cameras would create additional labour costs that would be around $20 million a year in order to hire 200 additional officers because of the time it takes to process all the information collected on video.

Police Camera Badge

By: Bonnie Wurst – info@mtltimes.ca

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