TORONTO — RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki has agreed to outfit some Mounties with body cameras following a discussion with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in the midst of worldwide protests against police brutality and racism.
“As the Commissioner, I agree it is critically important for Canadians to feel protected by the police and am committed to take whatever steps are required to enhance trust between the RCMP and the communities we serve,” Lucki said in a statement released late Monday.
“We have reviewed previous research and studies to draw best practices, with the desire to implement body-worn video across the RCMP.”
Trudeau says he raised the issue with Lucki during a call earlier Monday, after vowing to push provincial premiers to equip their forces with body-worn cameras as a rapid, substantive solution to allegations of racism and brutality.
Lucki says the use of body-worn cameras by RCMP officers was discussed as a means of “ensuring accurate evidence gathering and accountability.”
“Body-worn video provides increased transparency, while also providing a first-person view of what a police officer encounters, oftentimes in highly dynamic and tense situations,” she said, adding that the RCMP will work closely with the Privacy Commissioner to ensure all concerns are addressed.
The move comes in response to several incidents across the country, including allegations of police brutality from a First Nations chief in Alberta and the fatal police shooting of a 26-year-old Indigenous woman in Edmundston, N.B.
Public Safety Minister and former Toronto police chief Bill Blair said earlier this week that the government is “deeply concerned” by the Alberta allegations, which were made Saturday by Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam.
Lucki says that the RCMP will work with policing partners and the National Police Federation on a broader rollout of body-worn cameras.
With files from the Canadian Press
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