The RCMP’s long-promised plan to equip mounted police officers across the country with body cameras has been delayed.
The RCMP had planned to equip between 10,000 and 15,000 front-line officers in stages, starting sometime in 2023 and running through 2024.
After awarding the contract to Motorola Solutions Canada earlier this year, the Mounties conducted field tests of the cameras over the summer in Nova Scotia, Alberta and Nunavut.
A recent statement from RCMP headquarters suggests evaluators faced problems.
“Canada plans to exercise its absolute discretion under the contract to move on to the next qualified bidder. As this is an ongoing procurement process, we are unable to provide additional details at this time,” said RCMP spokesperson Robin Percival.
“An updated timeline will be determined once the government has opted for the second-ranked bidder.”
Breaking: has contacted Motorola Solutions Canada for comment.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then-RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki agreed to fund body cameras in 2020, weeks after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Images of Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck fueled protests against police brutality and systemic racism in Canada and around the world.
“It is vitally important that Canadians feel protected by the police and [the commissioner] is committed to [taking] any steps necessary to improve trust between the RCMP and the communities we serve,” an RCMP spokesperson said at the time of the 2020 announcement.
RCMP has introduced policies
The force originally planned to launch the cameras in 2021, but it took years for Motorola to be the initial supplier.
When the RCMP eventually begins using the cameras nationwide, officers will have to activate them during calls for service, including ongoing crimes and investigations, mental health calls and protests. the force’s policy document says.
The RCMP says its officers will not use the cameras during intimate searches.
The RCMP also has policies on when cameras can be turned off (rarely) and how footage can be released to the public (upon request).
In the fall 2020 economic statement, the federal government committed $238.5 million over six years to fund cameras and a digital evidence management system.
The union representing RCMP officers said it continues to support body cameras for its members.
“The NPF has been engaged with the RCMP and its members during the testing phases and we will continue to engage on this important issue as the next vendor launches their product,” Brian Sauvé, president of the National Police Federation, told Breaking:. in a statement to the media.