Photo: Andrew Burton Archives Agence France-Presse
The opposition at city hall continues to argue in favour of the deployment of these cameras for all front-line police officers of the SPVM, as is done in some american cities, like New York.
Administration Plant has not yet taken a decision on the deployment of hand-held cameras for all police officers, but the president of the Commission of public Safety and elected Project Montreal, Alex Norris, has expressed serious reservations in this regard.
The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), presented the Commission of public safety, on Friday morning, its report on the pilot project of cameras for police officers. This report has in particular highlighted the high cost of deployment of these cameras and the fact that many recordings made during the pilot project proved to be incomplete, given the constraints regarding the protection of privacy.
“Given the fragmented nature of the records and of the significant costs of a general deployment, I think it would be probably premature at this stage to commit to spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few decades with the technology that we have at the present time,” said councillor Alex Norris, who presides over the Committee of public safety, at the conclusion of the public session.
For nearly a year, from may 2016 to April 2017, 78 patrol boats of the SPVM have worn small cameras on the ground. According to the SPVM, the cameras had no impact on the use of force by police officers, or on the number of assaults committed by citizens against police officers.
The deployment of hand-held cameras for all police montreal would cost $ 24 million per year, which is added in the amount of $ 17 million for its implementation over a period of 5 years, considers the SPVM.
“The experience of the project has not allowed us to demonstrate unequivocally that the portable cameras will promote transparency of law enforcement interventions, to consolidate the relationship of trust between the police officer and the citizen and ensure the safety of police officers “, had concluded the SPVM.
During the session on Friday morning, Alex Norris has questioned the decision of the POLICE not to activate the portable cameras constantly. Or, at least, the activation could be automatic and not manual, he said. “One could spend hundreds of millions of dollars for camera systems that only gather fragments and we will miss the sequences that have the most need,” observed the chosen one.
The responsible of the pilot project by the SPVM, Pascal Lacquement, explained that if the cameras were operating at all times, the needs of redaction would explode.
Denis Barrette, lawyer for the League of rights and freedoms, has underlined that the port of the cameras for the police officers raised issues of transparency and accountability: “The portable cameras can be effective in some cases. It may restrict the temptations of the abuse of force by police officers. However, it raises important concerns “. He referred to the interventions carried out in private homes, the undefined character of the conservation of some of the images for investigations that are continuing, and the danger of sharing images with other police forces.
For its part, the opposition at city hall continues to argue in favour of the deployment of these cameras for all front-line police officers of the SPVM.