Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Body-worn cameras

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As part of the RCMP's Vision150 modernization plan, we will be rolling out body-worn cameras and a Digital Evidence Management System to RCMP officers across the country.

Project objectives

  • Strengthening transparency, accountability and public trust
  • Resolving public complaints more quickly
  • Improving interactions between the public and police
  • Improving evidence gathering

Why we will use body-worn cameras

We are committed to ensuring that Canadians feel protected by, and have trust in their national police force. Body-worn cameras can help increase trust between police and the communities they serve because the video evidence collected will provide an independent, unbiased, and objective way to capture interactions between the community and police officers.

Body-worn camera policy

In October 2022, the RCMP published a new body-worn cameras operational policy, in advance of camera rollout. The policy provides guidance and direction to RCMP officers on the use of body-worn cameras as well as their roles and responsibilities. To be transparent about our use of body-worn cameras, the RCMP is making the policy available to the public. Learn more.

Which RCMP officers will wear body-worn cameras

Between 10,000-15,000 body-worn cameras will be deployed to contract and federal police officers who interact with communities, across Canada's rural, urban and remote locations. This means that all front line RCMP officers will be wearing body-worn cameras when national roll-out is complete.

Field test phase

A field test using body-worn cameras and a digital evidence management system provided by Axon Public Safety Canada, Inc. ran from February 5, 2024 to March 31, 2024 and was deemed successful.

RCMP officers who participated in the field test will continue using their individually-assigned body-worn camera and digital evidence management system account.

The RCMP will continue to work with the Contractor to set up the national body-worn cameras and a digital evidence management system services that will include additional functionalities to support the work of front-line officers.

Once the full service is set up, the intention is to deploy Axon’s service nationally starting in fall 2024 and over the following months.

The RCMP's use of body-worn cameras in my community

During Field Test and the broader national rollout of body-worn cameras, the RCMP is seeking input from the communities we serve.

Fill out the survey

Key facts

Officers will activate their body-worn cameras during calls for service, including:

  • mental health calls
  • interactions with people in crisis
  • crimes in progress
  • for investigations
  • public disorder and protests
  • to record information to support the performance of their duties

Body-worn cameras are not intended to be used for the purpose of:

  • 24-hour recording
  • surveillance
  • when intimate searches are conducted

Answers to top questions

Camera operations

Will RCMP body-worn cameras record all the time?

In keeping with the RCMP's policy on the use of body-worn cameras, an RCMP officer will only activate their camera while in the lawful execution of their duties. This means:

  • before arriving at a call for service
  • when there is a decision to initiate contact with a member of the public, and where that contact is for the purpose of a police investigation, regardless of whether or not the person is within camera view
  • to record statements that would normally be taken in the field
  • to record interactions with a person in custody; and
  • to record any other situation or incident where a member believes capturing audio and/or video evidence would support them in the lawful execution of their duties
Can RCMP officers turn off their cameras?

According to the RCMP's body-worn camera Policy, officers must start recording before arriving at a call for service. They must also do so when initiating contact with a member of the public as part of a lawful execution of their duties. RCMP officers are required to continue recording until they determine that safety is no longer a concern and further recording no longer benefits the investigation.

The RCMP's body-worn camera policy also takes into account situations where it would not be appropriate to have the camera on. For example, during intimate searches or in circumstances where legal privilege exists. Aside from urgent circumstances, there are also places where the expectation of privacy will require RCMP officers to obtain consent before recording (for example, private dwellings, hospitals, and religious places).

To ensure accountability and oversight when a camera is deactivated, the RCMP's body-worn camera Policy requires officers to document intentional and accidental deactivations of body-worn camera.

Can the public ask the officer to turn their camera off?

Yes, but the RCMP officer will only be able to do so according to policy. In situations where there are concerns for police or public safety or the video has investigational value, the policy requires RCMP officers to keep the camera on.

The RCMP's policy was also developed with the needs of victims in mind. It requires that RCMP officers be aware of the impact that recordings may have on individuals involved in incidents of a sensitive nature. In such cases, RCMP officers may temporarily obstruct the video to protect the privacy of another person. When this occurs, RCMP officers are required to provide a rationale as part of the recording or in their notebook.

What happens if an RCMP officer does not turn their camera on or does not follow procedures? What are the consequences?

If an RCMP officer does not follow policy and procedures they may be subject to internal disciplinary processes. Member conduct is guided by the Code of Conduct of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In the rare circumstance that an RCMP officer commits a statutory offence, the file could be referred for criminal investigation.

How will the public know they are being recorded?

The camera will show a blinking light when recording. Additionally, during interactions that involve the use of body-worn cameras, when possible and at the earliest opportunity, officers will inform members of the public that they are being recorded at the earliest possible opportunity. There may be times where an RCMP officer is unable to advise the public they are being recorded.

Will cameras be personal-issue for each officer?

Each RCMP officer who is designated to receive a camera will have one assigned to them by their Division or detachment. This camera will correspond to their digital evidence management system account where their video will be uploaded. If and when an officer leaves a detachment, the camera remains with the detachment but the digital evidence management system account license follows the officer.

How much video can a body-worn camera record?

Each camera has 64 gigabytes memory and can store approximately 24 hours of audio and video.

How long does a body-worn camera battery last?

Battery life is estimated to be 12 hours.

Privacy

Do the cameras use facial recognition?

No. RCMP policy specifically forbids the use of body-worn video for any biometric analysis, including facial recognition. The policy also forbids the use of body-worn camera for surveillance purposes or covert recording.

How will the public's privacy be protected?

The RCMP has conducted a Privacy Impact Assessment to help to ensure that potential privacy risks are identified and that measures are taken to effectively mitigate those risks.

For example, individuals who are not directly involved in an incident but are captured on audio and/or video will have their faces blurred, or have sections of the recording not relevant to the occurrence redacted, should they be used in court proceedings.

Similarly, the RCMP's body-worn camera policy identifies places and situations where it would not be appropriate to have the camera on, except when a circumstance dictates otherwise (that is, emergency circumstances). These include places where the expectation of privacy is high (for example, private dwellings, hospitals, and religious places) and situations where privacy is essential (for example, intimate searches). Privacy-related aspects of the policy are emphasized during training.

Further, only designated individuals will be able to access data within the digital evidence management system, and only where there is a need to do so.

Access to videos

Who can edit videos?

Original video recordings cannot be edited and will be retained in the system in their original form. Individual police officers will have ability to redact copies of videos for disclosure purposes.

Access to a body-worn camera video or image is automatically captured and tracked in an audit log, and includes employee information as well as the time and date that the body-worn camera video or image was accessed in the digital evidence management system.

Who will be able to access video data?

Only designated individuals will be able to access data within the digital evidence management system, and only then where there is a need to do so.

Access to a body-worn camera video or image is automatically captured and tracked in an audit log, which includes the member's regimental number, and the time and date that the body-worn video or image was accessed in the digital evidence management system.

Will officers be able to watch video whenever they choose?

RCMP officers will be required to complete their notes of an incident before watching the body-worn camera footage. If after watching the video, the officer makes additions to their notes, the officer must state that the additions were made after reviewing video.

They will only have access to their own recorded media. They may only access another officer's video by providing a valid rationale (for example, for investigative purposes) and obtaining approval. Access to a body-worn camera video or image is automatically tracked in an audit log, and includes employee information as well as the time and date on which the body-worn camera video or image was accessed in the digital evidence management system.

Sharing recordings

Can the RCMP share video recordings with the public?

The RCMP may proactively disclose footage from a body-worn camera where it is in the public interest to do so.

Can members of the public view, or request access to, footage taken of them?

You have the right to seek access to the recording by making a formal request under the federal Privacy Act or Access to Information Act. Formal requests can be made using the Access to Information and Privacy guidelines.

Costs

How much will this cost?

Rather than purchasing cameras and equipment, the RCMP is using a Software-as-a-Service subscription model, a widely used model. This means that the Contractor will provide a service that includes hardware replacements and warranty through the length of the contract. This option has virtually no start up costs, can be deployed within a short period of time, and requires minor IT development work by the RCMP.

The federal government's 2020 Fall Economic Statement committed $238.5 million over six years and $50 million on-going annual funding to implement body-worn cameras and a digital evidence management system. Contract partners were given three years to prepare for this initiative so that recoveries at contract share will only begin in 2024-25, when and where the service is operational

Keeping video

How will the video be stored?

Video will be securely stored on a cloud-based digital evidence management.

When returning to the detachment after a shift, or as soon as possible, each officer is required to place the body-worn camera into the docking station to charge and offload any body-worn video captured during the shift.

How long will the RCMP keep body-worn camera videos?

The amount of time the RCMP will keep a video depends on the type of incident captured on the video and is based on existing legislation. Retention periods can range from 30 days to 2 years or longer.

Generally, the more serious the incident or crime, the longer the video is kept.

Is the digital evidence management system vulnerable to hackers and security risks?

The RCMP is diligent in protecting all of our information and information systems from attack, and the new digital evidence management system is no exception. The digital evidence management system will have multiple layers of security controls and will be continuously monitored to protect against security threats and risks.

Key milestones

Key milestones
Key milestones Status Estimated completion
Contract award for the field test Completed January 2023
Policy and training development Completed Fall 2022/Winter 2022
Operational field testing Completed Summer 2023
Contract award for the second field test Completed Fall 2023
Operational field testing Completed Spring 2024
National rollout Planning 2024 (in stages)

Public and stakeholder engagement

We have been meeting with various organizations, groups and community members across Canada to introduce body-worn cameras, and to better understand their concerns.

If you represent a non-government organization and would like to be included in consultations, please contact us at: bwc_consultations_cvc@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

Members of the public who wish to share their views are invited to fill out our survey.

Fill out the survey

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