A call for body cameras for the Halifax Regional Police - Hold officers accountable

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A call for body cameras for the Halifax Regional Police - Hold officers accountable

This petition had 109,923 supporters


The volatile political climate faced by our southern neighbours highlights the need for the increased accountability of law enforcement. While our situation may not be as visibly problematic here in Halifax, we are not immune from the same issues of racial discrimination in police activity. It stems not only from individual behaviour but from a skewed system that has long oppressed minorities, and while it may look different here than it does in the United States, racism in Canada is alive and well. A call for a review of the implementation of body cameras for the Halifax Regional Police could be a step toward dismantling the problem of racial discrimination in our city's justice system.

There is a tangible history of racial discrimination by the Halifax Regional Police. In recent memory, POC were disproportionately targeted for street checks by the HRP. Another example, having occurred only a few months ago, was a case of the racial profiling of a 15-year-old boy who faced brutality at the hands of police in Bedford (Read more here). We cannot allow such injustices to happen any longer. A new approach to police accountability is long overdue.

Initial studies cited by HRP in their rejection of proposals to implement chest worn cameras focused primarily on the issue of de-escalation of police-citizen interactions, testing whether body-worn cameras improved officer or citizen conduct. (Read more here) Mixed evidence aside, the de-escalation of volatile situations has never been the only intention of chest cameras. An objective, independent recording of interactions between law enforcement officers and citizens can help in the service of justice for either party, while helping to hold police accountable for their actions and increase trustworthiness in law enforcement. It can also result in reduced complaints on police behaviour. This article touches on some of the ways in which Calgary’s law enforcement has benefited from body worn video, and outlines some of the reasons the RCMP has turned down proposals for the technology. HRP should review new evidence with Calgary’s success with the technology in mind.

Body cameras are slowly making their way into Police departments across the country. It is time for the Halifax Regional Police to reconsider this investment as a tool for their officers, with the goal of holding our police force accountable to the law, to benefit the majority of officers who act justly, and most importantly, for the safety of the citizens that need to be protected by law enforcement.

 

UPDATE: NOT SEEKING DONATIONS

The offers of donations have been highly appreciated. If you would like to donate to racial justice causes in our community and beyond, I would recommend looking into the following:

Black Lives Matter Solidarity Fund Nova Scotia

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association

Mi'kmaq Benevolent Society

 



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