Dozens of Vancouver police officers are now recording their interactions on body-worn cameras in a pilot project the department says is aimed at improving public trust.
Deputy Chief Howard Chow announced 85 officers in the traffic section, and those who work in the downtown core and in east Vancouver will begin patrolling with chest-mounted cameras.
The department says in a statement that officers are expected to activate their cameras as soon as it’s safe and when there’s a reasonable belief that there will be a use of force or violent behaviour.
After extensive community consultation, Chow says they believe they’ve reached a balance that protects peoples’ rights and privacy, while enhancing public trust.
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A coroners’ jury in the 2015 police beating death of Myles Gray recommended last May that Vancouver police expedite its plans to use body-worn cameras for all patrol officers.
Vancouver police officers to wear body cameras in pilot project
The statement says the results of the pilot project will guide the department in developing a broader camera policy for all its officers.
Chow says the cameras launched Thursday are about trust and continuing to deliver the best service to residents.
“We are confident that we are hiring excellent men and women to do a very challenging job. However, if this tool helps to reassure and strengthen public confidence and trust, then it’s an important step worth taking.”
The department says officers who activate their camera will inform a person they are being recorded as soon as possible, unless doing so could jeopardize the safety of police or the public.
It says officers aren’t required to have their cameras on all the time if they aren’t responding to a specific incident or interaction with a member of the public.
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