Make Body Cameras for Police Officers Mandatory in Vancouver, BC & Canada
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As someone who wanted to be a police officer for a large part of my life I have always understood the importance of the truth and how important keeping people accountable for their actions is. This is incredibly important when talking about police officers.
Marginalized groups take the brunt of this lack of accountability from police officers. Resulting in them often experiencing high levels of mistreatment at the hands of police officers, leading to severe lack of trust and poor relationships between the public and the police.
As highlighted by recent events in Toronto, Canada and Minneapolis, America we are still experiencing tragedies that leave us wanting and reaching out for the truth. This want is eroding public trust in our police forces and we have the power to improve this.
With this in mind I believe the time has come that we can wait no longer to introduce Body Cameras for every front line officer here in Vancouver, in BC and in Canada as a whole. The technology is readily available and its time to make use of it.
The benefits of officers wearing body cameras include but are not limited to:
- Increasing public confidence and relations in local and national policing by ensuring there is an increased level of accountability.
- Changing the behaviour of the police officer, reducing the risk of abuse of power on the officers part.
- Help protect members of the public from false police statements
- Be used as strong evidence in court cases to help determine the truth
- Lead to a reduction in police violence, abuse and problematic arrest and investigation situations.
- Lead to a reduction in the number of complaints and allegations made against officers.
- Reduce criminal justice costs due to its weight as evidence and increase early guilty pleas, off setting some of its implementation and running costs.
- Helps in the deescalation of anti social behaviour and reduces the number of assaults on front line officers making the officers job safer.
- It can also offer a great source for police training opportunities showing both bad and good handling of different situations. Better training equals better police officers.
- There is also evidence when implemented well it can reduce paperwork for officers meaning they can spend more time on the front lines dealing with crime and working on public relations.
There are many more potential benefits to police officers wearing body cameras including the potential for individuals to act differently knowing they are being filmed.
In the case of George Floyd in America it was video footage from a bystander which prompted an internal investigation and has led to the charging of one officer and firing and recent charging of 3 others. Without this footage, the truth may never have come out about this horrendous incident. If these police officers were wearing body cameras then it is likely this situation could have been avoided and that all parties involved may have acted differently given that they knew their actions were being recorded for later review.
Lets make this change happen which is long overdue here in Vancouver and Canada as a whole. We can make sure that every police officer is kept accountable for their actions and restore some public trust in our police forces going forward.
I call upon the municipal and provincial governments to make this a priority. I call upon the federal government to offer its support for this change and offer financial help for municipal and provincial governments to help implement this, just like the Obama administration did in America. I call upon the police force here in Vancouver and Canada wide to prioritize this change and ask the government for support in making it.
I have contacted all levels of government and police forces directly as well as some outside organisations to continue this call for change. I will update here accordingly if/when I hear back from any/all of the sources.
I urge you to sign this petition to help show the need for police accountability and where possible to contact your local MP’s and police forces expressing your support for Body Cameras to be implemented for all front line police officers.
Accountability is the key to trust!
Lets make this happen!
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