Vancouver Police to test body mounted cameras during Oppenheimer Park eviction

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The Vancouver Police Department has announced plans to test out body mounted cameras on the officers that will be deployed to evict campers from Oppenheimer Park.

Last week, the B.C. Supreme Court approved the City of Vancouver’s application for injunction and gave campers a week’s notice to remove their tents and structures and leave the park. All campers must vacate the public area by no later than 10 p.m. on Wednesday.

The body mounted camera program was first announced late last year as a pilot project to ensure transparency, accountability and officer safety. It is an extension of the force’s Evidence Gathering Team, allowing officers to record a more personal side of police interactions with demonstrators and provide accurate accounts of police interactions with the public.

“The cameras are being tested with everyone’s safety in mind,” says VPD Chief Constable Jim Chu. “Everyone is on their best behaviour when a camera is rolling.”

Eight police officers will be equipped with the smartphone-sized cameras, which are affixed to the uniform on the chest, as part of the program’s testing phase. This will be in addition to handheld and pole-mounted video cameras that are already in use by the police.

However, there are no plans to introduce the new devices to all VPD patrol officers due to the cost of the devices and the infrastructure required for remote long-term video storage.

Police forces in Edmonton, Victoria, Albuquerque and Los Angeles have recently used body mounted cameras on a trial basis. In the United Kingdom, police officers and private security have worn body mounted cameras since 2005.

Feature Image: Reveal Media

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