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The Government of Canada has approved use of body cameras by Iqaluit RCMP in a pilot project that will help guide the use of the technology for Mounties in remote communities across Canada.

“Body-worn cameras in Iqaluit will help strengthen accountability and public trust of the RCMP in the community,” says Nunavut RCMP commanding officer Chief Supt. Amanda Jones.
photo courtesy of RCMP

It’s expected the devices will be deployed before the end of the year.

However, the federal government is still examining how to manage the massive data files associated with video recordings from every officer’s shift in remote communities with limited infrastructure, if the initiative is to eventually go territory-wide.

Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of the RCMP, posted a Request for Information this week to find an industry partner who can help with that issue.

“Once the RCMP finishes gathering vendor information and secures funding, the RCMP will work with federal partners on a contract bidding process, anticipated early next year,” the Government of Canada stated in a Wednesday news release.

Chief Supt. Amanda Jones, the commanding officer of Nunavut’s V Division RCMP, stated, “Since taking on the responsibility of leading the RCMP’s dedicated employees in providing policing services to the people of Nunavut, I have been committed to ensuring they have the training and tools needed to serve the North. Body-worn cameras in Iqaluit will help strengthen accountability and public trust of the RCMP in the community.”

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Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal told Nunavut News earlier this month that he too remains supportive of the use of body cameras by Nunavut RCMP.

“Our government recognizes this is not the only solution to addressing systemic racism and discrimination in policing and other institutions. We must keep working to remove systemic racism from these institutions, institutions that are meant to serve everyone living in this country equally and fairly. There is much more to do and I look forward to continuing this important work, in collaboration with all partners,” Vandal said on Wednesday.

Nunavut Justice Minister Jeannie Ehaloak added, “Our government is in favour of any measures which increase the transparency of our police services. We support this pilot project and are happy to see progress on the issue of body-worn cameras. We hope this pilot project initiative is successful and that it can be used as a model going forward in the roll-out of body-worn cameras across our territory. We will continue to work with the RCMP on measures which increase transparency and improve policing for Nunavummiut. We will work with our colleagues at Public Safety Canada to ensure the proper allocation of funds and resources to achieve our goals of reconciliation between Inuit and the RCMP.”

Tununiq MLA David Qamaniq has made repeated calls in the legislative assembly for Nunavut police to adopt body cameras. He said the devices will help hold individuals accountable for their actions in an “important step towards changing their negative behaviour. The use of body cameras, with the ability to review events as they occurred instead of relying on people’s memories, would be a good means of ensuring accountability for their actions.”

Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson convened a roundtable in June to examine the obstacles that were preventing body cameras from being deployed in the territory.

“Most people around the room were impatient to see something get going, especially after we heard how well things seem to have gone in Nunavik (with the local police force),” Patterson said at the time.

 

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