Concerns keep Toronto Police away from body cams
By Michael Osei
Toronto Police Service is considering implementing body cameras on officers in hopes of capturing the good, the bad, and the ugly on film.
Canadian cities such as Calgary and Edmonton have tested them out, while Toronto is on the outside looking in. Though members of the public may be pleased to hear that this practice is possibly coming to Toronto, certain drawbacks and concerns may bring the entire concept to a halt.
“With this new technology, there are issues that officers raise about privacy issues. There is also the question of who pays for a very expensive technology and there are also questions about the storage capabilities for police services. Even though it’s digital technology, there are still a lot of requirements for storage of the data. All of those [questions] remain unanswered by government, who ultimately make these decisions,” said Joe Couto, Director of Government Relations for the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.
He said just like in-car cameras, body cameras have a lot of potential good. The cameras can be effective for investigative purposes and court proceedings.
According to Couto, a discussion hasn’t taken place between police and government, adding it will be difficult for police forces in Ontario to move forward with body camera technology if the government does not address these concerns.
Victor Kwong, media relations officer for the Toronto Police Service said that police force at the moment only records audio when an officer is outside his or her cruiser.
“The police and the police services board are always mindful and keep up to date with the latest technologies,” Kwong said.
He said that body cameras would be beneficial as long as issues such as budgets and privacy concerns are addressed.