The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) will be turning to the use of Body Cams as part of its operational device in the fight against crimes, according to Acting Commissioner of Police Edvin Martin.
Speaking to reporters at a press briefing on Wednesday, Martin announced that the force will be implementing the use of the body cams on police officers by the end of September.
He said the initial roll out of the device will be on officers attached to the Rapid Response Unit (RRU), Drug Squad and the Traffic Department.
“The effectiveness of this initiative will be monitored on an ongoing basis and a review will take place six months after its implementation when a determination will be made on implementing this initiative across all departments of the police force,” he told reporters.
“It is our hope among other benefits of this initiative that it will contribute to mitigating adversarial interactions between police officers and members of the public,” he said.
According to Commissioner Martin, RGPF will also be looking to the Body Cams to “significantly enhance our capacity to gather and capture evidence at the scene of crime” and to also provide “a platform for investigative review if this becomes necessary”.
The island’s chief cop called on police officers “to embrace this initiative and we ask the public for support as we seek to implement another initiative to enhance the effectiveness of the RGPF and the quality of service that we deliver to our constituents”.
Martin stated that there is no doubt that in many jurisdictions across the world that have implemented the use of Body Cams, they have been effective both in holding police officers accountable as well as controlling interaction between police and members of the public.
He acknowledged that existing legislation covering police activities will have to be adjusted to provide for body cams.
Commissioner Martin said: “A Body Cam worn on a police officer and capturing an image of the police officer is no different from the said image that the police officer is viewing at the material point in time. All that is being done is that it is recorded.
“At this point in time part of the things that we are going through prior to implementation is developing the protocols – we actually have the protocols but we will now be implementing training for officers for the conditions under which Body Cams should be used and how they should be used to make sure that those are consistent with law enforcement standards internationally.
“Where appropriate legislative adjustments will be made and one of the concerns maybe, will be whether or not images from a Body Cam will be acceptable as evidence (in a court of law). As it now stands where there are CCTV set up in houses, buildings on the road – wherever – those are used investigatively and also used to refer as evidence at this point in time.
“So I do not think we have any fundamental challenges in that regard. Certainly persons with CCTV – where there have been break-ins, stealing (have) been very instrumental in solving some of those crimes and I do not see that we will have any major issue with the implementation of Body Cams.
“…I definitely think that this (body cams) will significantly enhance our own accountability and our quality of service to members of the public. When an officer knows that his own action is being recorded, it should have a significant controlling mechanism on how the officer treats with members of the public so we look forward to see how that will be implemented.”