Body-Worn Cameras Policy - Public Consultation
|The body-worn cameras policy public consultation has ended. This page has now been archived.|
At its meeting of August 18, 2020, the Toronto Police Services Board (the Board) approved a contract for the procurement and deployment of body-worn cameras (BWCs) to front-line Toronto Police Service (Service) Members.
BWCs are being deployed to Service Members as one tool – among the many other reforms initiated by the Board – to improve accountability, address systemic racism, and build public trust in the Service. In addition to these goals, BWCs will also improve the police services delivered by the Service by providing improved evidence and disclosure for the justice and complaints system.
BWCs also pose novel risks and challenges that must be mitigated. Research on the use of BWCs by police forces around the world has demonstrated that the governance of BWCs is a critical element in achieving goals of increased police accountability, and that where such governance is lacking, BWCs may have no impact or even a negative influence on officer misconduct.
Therefore, in advance of the full deployment of BWCs, the Board Office is currently developing a Board Policy for the governance of BWCs, to ensure that this tool is employed in a manner that protects the rights and privacy of members of the public. If approved by the Board, this Policy will provide the Chief of Police with direction on what the Service’s Procedures – which will govern officers and the entire Service on the use of BWCs – must address.
The Consultation Process So Far
The development of a comprehensive police board policy for the use of BWCs is a first in Ontario, if not in Canada. As an important part of this policy development process, the Board Office has consulted with a number of external stakeholders and subject-matter experts, including the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC); the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC); the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards (OAPSB); the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP); the Toronto Police Association (TPA); The Toronto Police Senior Officers' Organization (SOO); and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). The Board is grateful to all of these organizations for their input on the draft Policy.
The draft has also benefited considerably from the contributions of participants in the Board's July 2020 Virtual Town Hall meetings. Many of these participants spoke specifically to the issue of BWCs. The views expressed by members of the public on the issue are described in the Town Hall illustrated summary published by the Board, as well as in the interim written analysis. Overall, participants were wary of the added financial costs of deploying BWCs, and raised concerns that the cameras will be a "band-aid" solution to more significant and complex problems. The Board shares some of the concerns raised by members of the public, and the draft Policy seeks to incorporate mechanisms to monitor the effectiveness and costs of BWCs.
The Public Consultation Phase
The Board would now like to hear from you, the public, on this draft Policy. Below you will find links to the current draft Policy and the draft Procedure that is being developed by the Service alongside it. It should be noted that this draft Policy is subject to change based on the feedback we receive from the public. You are encouraged to provide written feedback to the Board Office using the form provided below. To allow us sufficient time to review your comments and consider possible revisions to the draft Policy, please submit your feedback no later than end of day, November 5, 2020. All submissions made as part of the consultation form part of the public record, and are available below under "members of the public".
To assist you in considering this draft Policy, we have developed a consultation guide with a set of questions. This consultation guide, along with other relevant materials, is also provided below.
The Board Office hosted two webinar events to review the draft Policy and Procedure and to answer questions from the public. We are grateful to the many participants who joined us for these events. You can view recordings of these webinars on YouTube here:
The Board thanks you for your interest in this consultation, and for your participation in this crucial process. This is an important and complex issue and your thoughts and perspectives are very much valued as we work through the various elements that make up this Policy. Through your input, you are helping us to ensure all residents of Toronto can enjoy fair, effective and accountable policing services.
Submitting Written Comments
The Board is no longer accepting comments for this consultation. We thank all members of the public who took an interest and a part in this process.
The Board has approved the proposed Body-Worn Camera Policy at its meeting of November 24, 2020. The report to the Board on the proposed Policy describes some of the changes made in the Policy following the consultation process. Executive Director Ryan Teschner gave a presentation to the Board on the proposed Policy during the Board Meeting. The approved Policy has been posted on the Board's website to the Board Policies page.