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Bunting to shed light on body camera plan

Published:Tuesday | May 13, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Minister of National Security Peter Bunting.

With body video cameras now being operational in the United Kingdom, Minister of National Security Minister Peter Bunting has promised to be more definitive about the implementation of the equipment on members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) embarking on special operations.

Bunting has not said much since making the announcement last year, but yesterday, in response to Gleaner queries, he signalled that he will be shedding light on the use of body cameras today when he makes his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

With mounting allegations of police excesses in Jamaica, the parliamentary Opposition, as well as a member of academia, is stressing that it is time Bunting make his move.

Opposition Spokesman on National Security Derrick Smith said the proposed introduction of body cameras to be worn by the police while on certain operations is positive and worth pursuing.

"It's about time that we again hear from the minister about a specific time frame for introduction," said Smith. "There are different types and qualities of body cameras ... . It is hoped that when a decision is made, the best quality will be decided."

Smith was supported by Professor Anthony Clayton, head of the Institute for Sustainable Development at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus.

Clayton stressed that the body cameras are "definitely" useful, as they play a key role in corroborating accounts, as well as ensuring that police officers behave as they are supposed to, and providing proof to refute false allegations against the police.

"The technology is now tested and proven elsewhere, so it is probably more to do with cost and the need to train officers to incorporate them into normal duties," said Clayton.

His comments come on the heels of reports last week that body video cameras were being introduced for London police officers on a trial run.

They will, reportedly, wear the small video cameras attached to their uniforms as part of a trial that could be rolled out more widely.