About two weeks ago there was an article in the Gleaner with the headline Police Not Making Full Use of Body Cameras – Commissioner, in which the new Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson seems to have given us a somewhat clearer idea of why to date no member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has been wearing a body-camera in any incident requiring investigation by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM). No fatal shooting, no shooting resulting in injury, no altercation, nothing. No incident occurring on any planned operation, not on any unplanned operation, not on any planned stationary vehicle check point, nothing. And this after these body-cameras were introduced with much hype and fanfare, having been donated by the US Embassy in August 2016. (See blog post Jamaica’s Body-Worn Cameras: A Comfort to a Fool?)
As one of the “different sectors of the society asking for an update on the cameras and why there was no footage from any operations that featured body cameras”, I was intrigued to see the Commissioner being quoted as follows regarding the lack of use of the body cameras:
“One, you don’t have enough, and, two, our uniforms don’t have the technology to actually properly wear them. We are looking at some other models that we have seen recently. We have met some representatives up to last week that, perhaps, will suit what we do better”. (Gleaner, May 9, 2018)
An inadequate number of body cameras does not explain why the available cameras have not been deployed on planned operations where confrontations are most likely to occur. A logical approach would see these operations as priority for deployment. The other reason given is beyond belief…that police uniforms don’t have the “technology” for attaching the body cameras properly! When was this deficiency first discovered? Was there no consultation between the JCF and the US Embassy before the particular body cameras were obtained and donated? At what point was it planned to inform the public of this ridiculous problem preventing use of the body cameras? Does this mean that the existing body cameras are to be discarded?
The article also quotes Commissioner Anderson as saying:
“When you introduce new things and new capabilities, it’s a process. You don’t just buy something to stick them on. There’s a training component, there’s an equipment back-up component, a logistics component, a command and control component to it. There’s a whole thing that you used to deliver capabilities, but we haven’t been that good at it”. (Gleaner, May 9, 2018)
So the announcement of the donation of the body cameras in August 2016 and the announcement of the deployment of the cameras in February 2017 and the failure to give any official update to the public regarding the use of the body cameras or any official evaluation of the project has all resulted in the declared use of body cameras by the JCF being an elaborate comfort to a fool.
I am glad that the Commissioner of Police has answered some questions from a reporter, but perhaps it is time for a full and official update by the Minister of National Security in Parliament.
(I have now done 5 or 6 blog posts about the body-worn cameras and the JCF, if you wish more information about the issue.)
May 22, 2018 at 5:58 am
Hope you noted that I cited this as one of the many examples of engrained low productivity in Jamaica https://jamaicapoliticaleconomy.wordpress.com/2018/05/16/productivity-problems-in-jamaica-jamaica-observer-article/
LikeLiked by 1 person
May 22, 2018 at 9:52 am
May 22, 2018 at 8:03 am
The ‘technological’ limitations of the JCF uniforms should have been evident from BEFORE the cameras were obtained–they’re a standard issue. So, the obivious questions are: 1. What did JCF decide to do about that, change uniforms of look for different cameras? 2. When did they hope to change either or both to be able to use the cameras effectively. 3. When did they feel they needed to advise either the Minister of National Security (assuming they had not done this) and the Jamaican public? 4. Why has it taken nearly 2 years for this to come to light? The JCF repeatedly talks about the need to change its culture, not least to weed out corruption, yet at every turn it looks and smells like ‘business as usual’.
LikeLiked by 1 person
May 22, 2018 at 9:51 am
Yes, these are pertinent questions. Will we ever get answers? It really is time for the Minister of National Security to report on this in Parliament.
May 22, 2018 at 10:50 am
Look back at this http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Police-finally-wearing-body-cameras_90181
May 22, 2018 at 12:41 pm
Thanks for this link, Dennis. I’m aware of the info apart from the cost of the project, which I don’t recall seeing before…US$400,000! And to date not one incident recorded!
LikeLiked by 1 person