On this page
- Project objectives
- Why we will use body-worn cameras
- Body-worn camera policy
- Which RCMP officers will wear body-worn cameras
- Field test phase
- The RCMP's use of body-worn cameras in my community
- Key facts
- Answers to top questions
- Key milestones
- Public and stakeholder engagement
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.
- 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 was conducted in May 2023, using approximately 300 cameras, in select detachments across Nova Scotia, Alberta and Iqaluit for 10 weeks. Field Test detachments were selected to provide a mix of testing locations, including urban, rural, and northern locations.
Following a thorough and multi-faceted evaluation of the field test, the RCMP has exercised its discretion under the contract to pivot to the next ranked bidder.
In consultation with Public Services and Procurement Canada, the RCMP now intends to field test this bidder’s service against the same technical requirements in an operational setting, at the following detachments:
- Alberta (K Division)
- Grand Prairie
- St. Paul
- Nova Scotia (H Division)
- New Minas
- North Sydney
- Nunavut (V Division)
The second field test will start during the week of February 5, 2024, and will last 8 to 10 weeks.
Following successful field tests, national roll-out will proceed in a phased approach and is expected to take 12 to 18 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.
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
- when intimate searches are conducted
Answers to top questions
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?
Yes. Each RCMP officer who is designated to receive a camera will have one individually assigned to them. This camera will correspond to their digital evidence management system account where their video will be uploaded.
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.
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.
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.
How much will this cost?
The RCMP estimates body-worn cameras will cost approximately $3,000 per camera per year. This estimate includes the camera, access to a digital evidence management system and RCMP staff required to manage the program.
Rather than purchasing cameras and equipment, the RCMP is using a Software as a Service subscription model. This means that the vendor 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 information technology development work by the RCMP.
The subscription model is now the widely used model. Most police organizations that had started with an in-house model have now moved to a subscription service, including London Metropolitan Police in the United Kingdom which deployed approximately 20,000 cameras.
The federal government's 2020 Fall Economic Statement committed $238.5 million over six years to implement body-worn cameras and a digital evidence management system. This financial commitment fully funds the initiative until 2024-25, at which time contract partners will contribute at the contract share.
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.
|Contract award for the field test
|Policy and training development
|Fall 2022/Winter 2022
|Operational field testing
|Contract award for the second field test
|Operational field testing
|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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the public who wish to share their views are invited to fill out our survey.