Gary: The use of police bodycams and CCTV has regressed

Former police commissioner Gary Griffith.  - Photo by Jeff K. Mayers
Former police commissioner Gary Griffith. - Photo by Jeff K. Mayers

GARY GRIFFITH, NTA leader and former commissioner of police (CoP), claimed on Monday the use of police bodycams and CCTV cameras has regressed since his tenure as CoP.

Newsday had sought his reaction to National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds promising to supply more of each, talking on Radio I95.5 FM on Sunday.

Hinds had said his ministry had recently bought 192 more bodycams, on top of 1,167 previously bought for the police.

He also said he was buying 2,500 new CCTV cameras which he was confident would help crime detection and improve people's safety and security.

CoP Erla Harewood-Christopher last February said the police service had 1,100 body cams, allocated to 1,000 front-line officers across ten divisions, the Inter Agency Task Force (IATF), and the Guard and Emergency Branch (GEB.)

Addressing Parliament's Joint Select Committee (JSC) on National Security, she had said, "We are procuring 400 more within the next three months."

At that JSC sitting DCP Curt Simon said that out of 1,796 police CCTV cameras, some 1,312 were working but 484 were non-functional.

Newsday tried but was unable to contact Harewood-Christopher or police corporate communications consultant Joanne Archie for an update on Monday.

Newsday asked Griffith if officers needed to be prodded to wear bodycams and on the state of CCTV cameras.

Griffith said, "Again, I don't want to go in depth on policies and technologies, but all of these things were taking place two years ago."

He said bodycams were a mandatory requirement, for the relevant officers.

The former CoP related, "Not one police officer had any concern. It involves proper communication."

Griffith recalled telling police officers that the bodycams were an avenue to protect them if being wrongfully accused.

"There was never one police officer that did not adhere to that requirement."

He blamed any current lapse in policy on his successor(s) for allegedly not enforcing what he had put in place.

"It was a standard operating procedure that any time you are going into an operation, any time you are moving your vehicle, you must turn on the body camera. It was being done."

He said it was likewise for the CCTV cameras which he said had been fitted into most police emergency response patrol vehicles.

"Unfortunately they have removed most of those cameras and we are not getting the live feed to the operations centre. These are just some of the over 150 policies that were unfortunately dismantled and removed." He said most initiatives being spoken about now had existed two years ago.

"So they are trying to reinvent the wheel, when these things were already being achieved.

"And that is what played a big part in the country feeling much safer a few years ago."


"Gary: The use of police bodycams and CCTV has regressed"

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