Body cams too fragile for Canadian Mounties – so they won't be used

Kit dumped after fears over battery life and durability

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) says it will not be equipping its officers with body cameras after the units were found to be not rugged enough for field use.

The Mounties say that a three-year trial run of the body-worn camera (BWC) gear has concluded and will not be adopted because the units have neither the battery life nor the durability to withstand day-to-day activity.

"The potential implementation of BWC would require that the RCMP purchase thousands of units to be distributed in over 750 detachments," said RCMP Deputy Commissioner Kevin Brosseau.

"The RCMP needs to have confidence in the product and ensure that the choice of technology justifies the investment at this time."

The announcement comes as the Canadian government finds itself re-examining a number of its policies on surveillance and the balance that the nation should strike between security and personal privacy.

Though the Mounties will not be wearing the body cameras, local police in a number of Canadian cities are moving forward with their own BWC plans. As the CBC notes, both Ottawa and Toronto are looking to trial the use of body cameras.

A recent study on police forces in the US and UK found that when body cameras were worn, complaints against officers dropped drastically.

The Mounties have not ruled out the use of cameras completely. Brosseau says that if and when the technology is able to better withstand field use, they will reconsider their decision.

"As a modern police force, the RCMP recognizes the importance of constantly researching new equipment to be used in operational settings," Brosseau said, "and we will continue to assess new BWC technologies as they become available." ®

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