PC: No date on police body camera debut

National Security Minister, Marvin Dames.

Police Commissioner Anthony Ferguson is still unable to confirm when the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) will introduce the use of body cameras.

He confirmed as much to Eyewitness News on Tuesday while addressing media at the RBPF headquarters.

Months after the government began testing various devices to find the right fit for the police force, the RBPF has yet to make a firm decision as to when the technological devices would be introduced.

Critics have slammed the government for dragging its feet in the decision-making process and families of victims who have been killed by police officers have agitated that the use of body cameras in the field is long overdue.

Commissioner Ferguson revealed Tuesday that dialogue is still underway.

“We are in discussions with various companies and we have just about completed testing that we launched a couple months ago, so very soon you can expect us to have those devices,” Ferguson said.

“All front-line officers will receive these gadgets. I can only say very soon because these [things] take time and it takes a process that these decisions have to go through.”

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames confirmed to Eyewitness News on May 29 that his ministry has allocated funds within the upcoming budget to equip the RBPF with body cameras, in an effort to hold police officers more accountable.

Dames spoke to members of the media ahead of government’s 2018/2019 fiscal budget presentation and two days after police shot and killed 20-year-old Deangelo Evans in Mason’s Addition.

The incident sparked public outcry as to whether police used bad judgement when they shot and killed a 20-year-old man.

Family members of the victim cried injustice and questions surfaced yet again as to when the government would acquire body cameras to ensure that officers are held accountable while on duty.

Dames told Eyewitness News at the end of May that the technological gadgets will be introduced before June 2019.

“We have budgeted for body cams in the upcoming fiscal period and it is expected that it will be introduced at that time,” Dames said.

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Theo can be contacted at tsealy@ewnews.com.