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Police body cameras not enough, says McCalla Sobers

Published:Friday | January 24, 2014 | 9:07 AM

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

The head of the group, Families Against State Terrorism, Yvonne McCalla Sobers, has expressed reservation about suggestions that the introduction of body cameras for police personnel will help to reduce extra-judicial killings.



The National Security Minister Peter Bunting says the initiative is aimed at improving the transparency of police activities in the wake of mounting complaints of indiscriminate killings.



But McCalla Sobers says the lack of accountability is the main problem in the police force.



She says cameras will not help to reduce police misconduct in an atmosphere in which accountability is not of paramount importance.



According to McCalla Sobers, there is need for more information on how the evidence from the cameras will be handled and the general system which will govern reporting by police personnel after operations.



Meanwhile, the Commissioner of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) is of the view that the wearing of body cameras by police is not enough to engender public confidence in the police force.



Arguing that with the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s unenviable record in the use of deadly force, INDECOM head Terrence Williams says his investigators should be given all possible investigative tools.



According to him, accountability is increased where misconduct is easily detected and can be addressed.



He says a camera can help to do this if combined with the proper protocols for its compulsory wearing and for its tape system to be examined and downloaded without tampering.



INDECOM has said some 258 civilians died in security-force involved incidents in 2013.



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