RCMP unlikely to meet deadline to equip Mounties with body-worn cameras

RCMP unlikely to meet deadline to equip Mounties with body-worn cameras

The RCMP’s plan to equip Mounties across the country with body-worn cameras appears to be running behind schedule.

The RCMP originally planned to start rolling out cameras by late 2021 — but it still hasn’t awarded a contract.

“The exact timeline for the body worn camera rollout will be confirmed once a vendor is selected,” said RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Caroline Duval.

Back in 2020, Commissioner Brenda Lucki — responding to multiple controversies involving Mounties’ use of force and allegations of systemic racism — agreed to outfit members with body-worn cameras and launch a digital evidence management system.

Citing “an agile procurement process,” Duval said three companies — Axon Public Safety Canada Inc., Getac Video Solutions Ltd. and Motorola Solutions Canada Inc. — are competing for the contract.

“The RCMP and [Public Services and Procurement Canada] are engaged in a process to review and refine requirements with the three above noted vendors,” she said.

“Once complete, a request for proposal will be launched. The field test will begin once the vendor is selected.”

The RCMP’s original plan was to first introduce the cameras in selected rural, urban and remote communities before issuing them to all officers who interact with the public.

While body-worn cameras have been widely embraced as a tool to improve police accountability, some experts have said there isn’t enough evidence to prove they improve policing.

A member of the Vancouver Police Department wears a chest-mounted GoPro camera as he oversees the dismantling of a tent city in downtown Vancouver on Oct. 16, 2014. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

Mounties in Nunavut wore cameras for six months as part of a pilot project; the detachment said officers recorded more than 3,500 videos resulting from approximately 5,000 calls. The RCMP is now evaluating that project.

The union representing thousands of boots-the-ground RCMP officers has said it supports the use of body-worn cameras but wants clearer guidelines on when they can be turned off.

The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported that outfitting RCMP officers with body-worn cameras at 700 detachments will cost about $131 million over five years.

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