Lukewarm reception to the cameras, for police officers in Montreal

Accueil tiède aux caméras pour les policiers à Montréal

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
For nearly a year, from may 2016 to April 2017, 78 patrol boats of the POLICE wore cameras on the ground.

Administration Plant has not yet taken a decision on the deployment of hand-held cameras for all police officers, but the president of the Commission of public safety and elected Project Montreal, Alex Norris, has expressed serious reservations in this regard.

According to him, it would be premature to commit to spending millions of dollars in this project.

The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), presented the Commission of public safety, on Friday morning, its report on the pilot project of cameras for police officers.

This report has in particular highlighted the high cost of deployment of these cameras and the fact that many recordings made during the pilot project proved to be incomplete, given the constraints regarding the protection of privacy.

“Given the fragmented nature of the records and of the significant costs of a general deployment, I think it would be probably premature at this stage to commit to spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few decades with the technology that we have at the present time,” said councillor Alex Norris, at the conclusion of the public session. According to him, technology is evolving at such a pace that it must move cautiously in this area.

For nearly a year, from may 2016 to April 2017, 78 patrol boats of the POLICE wore cameras on the ground. According to the SPVM, the cameras had no impact on the use of force by police officers, or on the number of assaults committed by citizens against police officers.

The deployment of hand-held cameras for all police montreal would cost $ 24 million per year, which is added in the amount of $ 17 million for its implementation over a period of five years, writes the SPVM.

I think it would be probably premature at this stage to commit to spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few decades with the technology that we have at the present time

— Alex Norris

 

“The experience of the project has not allowed us to demonstrate unequivocally that the portable cameras will promote transparency of law enforcement interventions, to consolidate the relationship of trust between the police officer and the citizen and ensure the safety of police officers,” concluded the SPVM.

Privacy

During the session on Friday morning, Alex Norris has questioned the decision of the POLICE not to activate the portable cameras constantly. Or, at least, the activation could be automatic and not manual, he said.

The responsible of the pilot project by the SPVM, Pascal Lacquement, explained that if the cameras were operating at all times, the needs of redaction would explode. The automatic activation would have also required the securing of computer systems of the provider and the SPVM, which has not been possible for the pilot project, he said.

To the claims of the company Axon, which claims that the SPVM has overstated the costs of a deployment of cameras, Pascal Lacquement has argued that the costs of the implementation of $ 17 million for five years corresponded to the figures advanced by the company.

Elsewhere in Canada

Several canadian cities, including Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto, have conducted pilot projects of portable cameras, but one body of police, that of Victoria, has decided to go forward. For its part, Calgary has reduced to 250 the number of cameras for its police officers.

“With the Exception of Calgary, there is no large police force that has cameras. All of which follow the evolution of the market and expect to see the technological solution which will be retained by Toronto, ” said Pascal Lacquement.

Elsewhere in the world, the Uk remains ahead of the curve. The metropolitan Service to London has deployed 22 000 portable cameras for its police officers. “It was done in a short time, at the expense of sufficient training,” said Mr. Lacquement. “The rate of activation of the camera is 40 % only in some areas “, he said.

In the United States, the death of a young black man, Michael Brown, killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, has raised the hackles. The financing program for the purchase of cameras put in place by the Obama administration, has prompted many police forces to equip their officers with these facilities. But the Washington Post revealed recently that many of them give up now because costs were too high.

It remains that for several organizations and citizens, the cameras help prevent police abuse.

“The camera, it is the first protection that a citizen can have “, has launched the citizen John Doe before the Board.

For its part, the opposition at City hall continues to argue in favour of the deployment of these cameras, a measure that could increase the public’s confidence in the police and the security thereof.

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