Faulkner renews his call for the body-worn camera | Main stories
The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) said that despite requests, it had never received body-worn camera footage to aid in its investigations into the actions of state agents.
INDECOM Commissioner Hugh Faulkner made the revelation at a press conference yesterday as he renewed calls for the devices to become a feature of police and military operations, including those to be carried out by the new joint anti-gang task force.
Launched last week, the anti-gang task force is a collaboration between the Jamaica Police Force and the Jamaica Defense Force.
“We believe that body-worn cameras are an important feature of the activities, given that the initiatives appear to be about gangs, guns and gunmen. We believe this will facilitate any investigative steps taken in the event of an incident,” Faulkner said.
According to INDECOM, while conducting investigations, its investigators repeatedly request footage to no avail as the cameras are not worn.
The watchdog recommends that all measures be taken to ensure that the cameras are part of the general equipment of the operational arm of the security forces.
“We further recommend that common areas of police stations, walkways, passageways, etc., be equipped with CCTV. Properly captured and extracted digital images provide reliable accounts of incidents and minimize exclusive reliance on human perception,” Faulkner said.
INDECOM also called for more administrative efforts to ensure that the lawful possession of those taken into custody is documented and returned upon their release from custody.
“Administratively, any obviously physical change in the appearance of detainees must be documented and investigated. When professional intervention is needed, [it] should be provided and family members informed,” Faulkner said.
INDECOM made this latest suggestion on the heels of a ruling in the investigation into Rastafarian Nzinga King.
King, a 19-year-old woman from Lionel Town in Clarendon, alleged her dreadlocks were cut by a policewoman while in police custody at Four Paths Police Station in Clarendon last year.
Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn ruled last week that the police corporal involved in the haircut incident involving King should not be charged.
INDECOM would also have reached a similar opinion.
The DPP had been waiting for a forensic examination report for three weeks before making its decision.
The case was first investigated by the police inspectorate before being taken up by INDECOM.