Kingston Jamaica (McN) – On Monday Feb 20, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) announced the implementation of the use of body cameras in some police divisions, in its effort to improve transparency and accountability in its interactions with members of the public.
Superintendent Norris Rhooms, officer in charge of the JCF Information, Communications and Technology Division, disclosed that police officers of Kingston East, Kingston Central, St. Andrew South and St. Andrew Central divisions will begin using body cameras, making Jamaica one of three 3 countries to use body cameras. The others are the United States of America and Canada.
However, he disclosed to the media that there are limitations with the units.
“We had a pilot project earlier and we had some limitations so we had some minor fixes. The vendor came down, did some repairs to some of the cameras, and did some adjustments to some of the software. They have sent out some newer model cameras to be used and we have sensitised our officers about some of these limitations,” said Rhooms.
One on the limitations Superintendent Rhooms pointed out is that the cameras will not work for the officers’ entire tour of duty, which lasts for eight hours.
He said, because of the limitation in the hours that the cameras will work, officers are instructed on when to use the new body cameras.
“The camera will turn on when our police officers are interacting with the public, so if an officer is speaking to you, they would turn on the camera and after that brief encounter of conversation, they would turn off their camera,” he highlighted.
Superintendent Rhooms states that Motorised Patrol and Traffic headquarters will be the next divisions to use the body cameras.
Reportedly, over 120 members of the JCF will now wear body cameras when dealing with members of the public.
Chairman of the Police Federation, Sergeant Raymond Wilson, says the body cameras can give much needed evidence from police operations carried out, which in turn may vindicate law enforcers and also members of the public.
Wilson says the devices will also provide the public insight into the difficulty of the job of police officers, daily.
Reportedly, Superintendent Norris Rhooms has stated, police who do not use the camera while interacting with the public, especially in questionable circumstances, will be sanctioned.
JATOO Says Body Police Wearing Body Cameras will crack down on wayward police and unscrupulous Transport Authority officials who extort money.
However, it’s reported that the head of the Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators (JATOO), Louis Barton welcomes the use of police body cameras, stating that the introduction body cameras will help to crack down on wayward police and unscrupulous Transport Authority officials who extort money from the operators of public passenger vehicles.
Barton reportedly have said that the body cameras will help reveal how corrupt cops seek to target motorists.