Jamaica’s Body-Worn Cameras: A Comfort to a Fool?


I think people are tired of promises, especially from politicians. Having listened to a radio interview last night with INDECOM’s Hamish Campbell, I then listened to the media and others praising a major new CCTV initiative (much needed, of course). BUT, as Susan Goffe points out in this blog post, I am wondering about another piece of technology, donated by U.S. taxpayers (not “bought”) with a launch and media fanfare in August, 2016. Despite the notable increase in police killings over the past year, this technology has hardly been used, and certainly not in any of the PLANNED police operations last year that resulted in the deaths of civilians! It would surely benefit police officers on the ground, too, to be wearing a body camera to corroborate/confirm their reports of interaction with citizens and enhance subsequent investigations. There are so often conflicting accounts. Are these vital pieces of technology actually being used at all? Over to you, new Police Commissioner! This is an important one to add to that “to do” list.

Right Steps & Poui Trees

At some point you have to hear when actions speak louder than words. You have to acknowledge that the promises have turned out to be just that…promises. Declarations, clothed in good intentions perhaps, but with no real substance to them in the end. This certainly looks like the case with the use of body-worn cameras by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). These cameras seem to be a comfort to a fool.

Across at least two administrations and three police commissioners so far, there have been commitments to the use of body-worn cameras by the police. This has been promised as a tool to help with increasing accountability, transparency, professionalism, public trust in the JCF and as a counter to possible false accusations against the police. There have been press conferences, press releases, official launches, pilot projects and media stories about these body-worn cameras. The use of body-worn cameras…

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