Wed | Dec 19, 2018

Where are the cameras?

Published:Monday | March 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) says the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) failed to use body-worn cameras (BWCs) in 30 planned police operations that resulted in 40 deaths in 2017.

Additionally, of the 16 deaths that arose from planned, stationary vehicle check points, no BWCs were deployed.

In its annual report tabled in Parliament last Thursday, the police oversight body said that a number of the shootings resulted in significant community concerns. INDECOM indicated that in many instances, community concerns and witness accounts were at variance with those of the JCF.

"BWCs would begin to address such suspicions and create an operating environment that begins to restore trust in the JCF."

The Terrence Williams-led INDECOM urged the Police High Command to reassess the strategy of non-deployment in planned policing events.

In addition, INDECOM has argued that the absence of BWCs from planned operations would be the subject of further enquiry, and questions would continue to be raised as to why such a valuable evidence-gathering tool was not utilised.

BWCs were delivered in 2016 to four central locations within the Kingston region, including the Motorised Division.

Despite having these BWCs, INDECOM argues that their deployment remains a tactical option that appears absent from the policing domain.

"Enquiry of the JCF indicates they have not received any self-reporting of a recorded incident that required any further action."

At the same time, INDECOM said that it had not received a single report of policing incidents in which the use of a BWC revealed an infraction either towards or by a police officer.

"This is a remarkable feature in a policing environment that reports daily on a multitude of events and shooting events and includes over 250 assault allegations made against the JCF in 2017."