Police are looking to collect community feedback on the new body-worn camera pilot project, which took to the streets this month. Over the next few weeks, 20,000 surveys will be delivered to randomly chosen homes and businesses, and an online surveyis available for members of the public to share their feedback as well. The survey includes questions about support for officers to wear a camera and in what situations the camera should be turned off. The pilot project will last one year, and will then be evaluated using the community’s comments.
Police are required to inform individuals that the camera is filming.
About 100 officers from different areas of Toronto began testing the new cameras. The video camera is attached to the officer’s vest at chest height, and is activated when the officer responds to a call or is investigating an individual. Police are required to inform individuals they are investigating that the camera is filming. The cameras will not be turned on for informal conversations with police officers or when they are collecting personal information.
Critics of the body-worn cameras, including the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, point out the issue of privacy in cases of sensitive situations such as those involving individuals with mental health issues. Toronto Police Services has stated that project training on when and when not to film was given to police officers before cameras were launched in the community.
CMHA Ontario has been vocal in encouraging police and mental health agencies within communities to collaborate and find effective solutions when it comes to police interactions with people experiencing a mental health crisis.
To learn more about the body-worn camera project, visit the Toronto Police Service website.
Take part in the survey online.