- The initiative is part of its strategy to improve transparency in interactions with the public.
- It is also aimed at improving the gathering of evidence of criminal activities, in order to prosecute persons who commit them.
- The cameras will generate a record of police activities, which will protect personnel from unfair allegations of violations of the Force’s rules.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will begin outfitting select police units with body cameras, as part of its strategy to improve transparency in interactions with the public.
The initiative is also aimed at improving the gathering of evidence of criminal activities, in order to prosecute persons who commit them.
Making the announcement at a Jamaica House press briefing, on January 23, Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, said the use of the devices is also to encourage police personnel to act in accordance with the Force’s professional standards.
Additionally, he said the cameras will generate a record of police activities, which will protect personnel from unfair allegations of violations of the Force’s rules.
Mr. Bunting informed that a consultant is to arrive in the island within another month to advise on the type of device, and the number to be deployed. “There are various versions…some that record, some which transmit from the device back to a patrol vehicle, and some which transmit to a central control…so, there are a number of options,” he added.
The Minister noted that a protocol will be established, making it mandatory for the officers to engage the cameras once they are going on an operation.
He emphasized that the administration views extrajudicial killings with concern, and outlined other measures that are being implemented to help reduce police fatal shootings, and to improve accountability.
These include instructions to the Commissioner of Police to: complete and promulgate in the JCF’s Force Orders, protocols with the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) to address the arrest policy; incident scene preservation; immediate notification of INDECOM; handling of ballistic submissions; sharing of the outcomes of administrative reviews; ensuring independence of officer accounts; and submission of officer statements.
“The Government is committed to reducing the level of crime and violence that has taken a terrible toll on this nation. We will be taking all necessary steps to ensure that the JCF becomes one of the most trusted and respected institutions in Jamaica,” the Minister stressed.
He said that the JCF, the Ministry and all its departments continue to support the work of INDECOM.