The Guyana Police Force has begun using body cameras.
Assistant Commissioner Edgar Thomas, who is Commander of ‘Division Four A’ (Agricola, East Bank Demerara to Cummings Lodge, East Coast Demerara) disclosed last night that he has initiated the use of the cameras (Portable Video Recording kits) in his Division.
Thomas took over on December 1 from Assistant Commissioner Marlon Chapman, who is on pre-retirement leave. He (Thomas) is an Information Technology expert, with some 30 years of training in Japan and India.
“It was a Divisional Commander’s call,” he said. “The riot units will also carry cameras,” adding that his ranks will also be patrolling occasionally with video cameras.
“I am not running any covert operation, I want the public to know that we are using cameras…we are not spying, we are using technology as part of our crime-fighting strategy.”
He was unable to say whether the body cameras are being used in other divisions.
The Assistant Commissioner also disclosed that he had scheduled “mass patrols” from yesterday evening in his Division. Ranks from all the stations would be involved.
According to Thomas, the use of the body cameras can not only protect ranks from false allegations, or expose corruption, but “can also ensure that the seniors know what their subordinates are doing on the streets”.
In a recent release, the Force stated that 40 ranks from within ‘D’ Division were trained in March to use Portable Video Recording kits (Body Cameras).
The release added that the purpose of the training was to allow ranks to capture digital audio and video evidence for criminal, civil and traffic-related offences, which will also help ranks with recalling facts and other details captured by the equipment that would accurately recount the chain of events when writing reports.
“The ranks will be required to wear the body cameras during their shift at all times and should activate it when it is absolutely necessary in situations such as: Traffic stops, priority responses, vehicle pursuits, arrest situations, vehicle searches, physical confrontations and crimes in progress etc.”
The training was conducted at the Leonora Police Station Recreational Hall by Constable 24148 Callace Isaacs and Constable 24606 Leon Joseph of the Information Technology Department (IT) of the Police Force.
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