The head of the RCMP says some members of the force will begin wearing body cameras.
A spokesperson for Commissioner Brenda Lucki made the announcement in a statement Monday evening–just hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters at his daily press briefing that he planned to raise the issue with provincial and territorial leaders and that he had already talked to Lucki about it.
“The commissioner has confirmed that the RCMP will engage in work and discussion with policing partners and the NPF (the RCMP union) on a broader rollout of body-worn cameras,” spokesperson Dan Brien said in the statement.
“The commissioner agrees it is critically important for Canadians to feel protected by the police and is committed to take whatever steps are required to enhance trust between the RCMP and the communities we serve,” the statement said.
Brien said members in operational roles will wear the body cameras but did not say when the policy would take effect or how many officers would wear them.
The announcement followed three days of anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests in cities across the country, sparked by the death of George Floyd two weeks ago in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
It also followed the violent arrest of an Inuk man in Nunavut that was captured on video last week and charges by Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam at a press conference on Saturday that RCMP officers beat and arrested him and manhandled his wife in a Fort McMurray, Alta. parking lot earlier this year.
At his media session on Monday, Trudeau said he was “deeply alarmed” by the pictures Chief Adam shared.
“Many people in this country simply do not feel protected by the police. In fact, they’re afraid of them,” Trudeau said at the briefing.
The RCMP announcement came after criminal charges were filed in recent days against a total of five RCMP officers in Alberta and in British Columbia for alleged criminal offences dating back to 2017 and the death of a 26-year-old Indigenous woman in a police shooting in Edmundston, New Brunswick last week.
As well, it came as leaders in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut issued calls for police reform following a report obtained by CBC News that said Inuit in Nunavut, especially women, suffer systemic police abuse, including excessive violence and persistent racism. (Please see story on this page below.)
The RCMP is a federal force that also serves eight of the 10 provinces and Canada’s three northern territories.
Ontario and Quebec have their own police.
With files from CBC News, RCI, The Canadian Press