Nunavut RCMP release findings from body camera project

Inuit respondents were more likely to say technology would reduce officers’ use of force

Nunavut RCMP on Tuesday released a summary of the findings from a six-month pilot project that saw officers wearing body cameras in Iqaluit. (File photo)

By David Lochead

This story was updated on Feb. 16 at 7:20 a.m. ET

Nunavut RCMP have released a summary of findings from a six-month pilot project of police wearing body cameras in Iqaluit.

One of the findings is that Inuit were under-represented in the community survey that sought to gauge public opinion on police wearing body cameras.

“I think we need to do a better job in communicating to our fellow Inuit on the value of these surveys,” said Nunavut Justice Minister David Akeeagok.

From November 2020 to May 2021, 53 RCMP officers wore body cameras to record themselves while on duty, according to the summary sent by RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Pauline Melanson.

The purpose of the pilot was to engage with the community on its reception to police wearing body cameras, identify the impact of the technology and get officers feedback, according to the report.

Melanson said the full report had not been released because it is being translated.

The report stated that 73 people were surveyed in the community. The summary doesn’t say how many respondents were Inuit, but it does state that in the future, collecting data from non-police organizations would lead to a larger proportion of Inuit responding.

One notable difference in opinion between Inuit and white respondents is that nearly 70 per cent of Inuit respondents said they believed that body cameras would reduce police’s use of force compared to just under a third of white respondents. Another difference is that just under a third of Inuit disagreed with the statement that body cameras are an invasion of their privacy compared to three-quarters of white respondents.

Akeeagok said that since Inuit are under-represented in a survey that already has a small number of people it is difficult to read too much into the answers between white and Inuit respondents.

But most survey respondents said the body cameras will be good for the community, Akeeagok said.

“We’re in agreement with that,” he said.

In the report, at least 60 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that body cameras will increase trust in police, increase safety and improve relations between police and the community. Nearly 80 per cent believe it will make police more transparent.

One of the larger challenges for implementing body cameras throughout the entire territory will be figuring out how to store the data from body cameras, Akeeagok said.

He said the Government of Nunavut will work with the RCMP to find the right technology to do so.

For the pilot project, 525 hours of video were recorded and that required approximately 1,246 gigabytes of storage.

Akeeagok said he wants police to use body cameras across the territory, but he does not have a timeline for when that will occur.

Correction: This story has been updated to say Inuit respondents to the RCMP survey were more likely to report they believe body worn cameras will reduce police use of force. Nunatsiaq News regrets the error.

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(14) Comments:

  1. Posted by Peter Alareak on

    If officers can not delete what is in the camera, by all mean, use them, it will be good for all. It will be useful for the court and both offier and and the person being arrest will know what their action were.

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  2. Posted by POC on

    Was this project specifically for “white” and “Inuit” community members and respondents? What about other POC? We need to stop generalizing Nunavut as being either “Inuit” or “white” because there are many other people of colour and different cultures up here as well. Not all people who are “non-Inuit” are white.

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    • Posted by The Nunavut View on

      A common Nunavut thing, isn’t it? We do have such a simplistic cultural lens.

      We also need to acknowledge that “white” is not in any way a monolithic or homogenous identity (especially in Canada) and is made of very diverse ethnicities and cultures. I would be interested in the difference between ‘white’ Nunavut Anglophone and Francophones in their response to this study.

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    • Posted by We’re Not In Toronto Any More Toto on

      This is Nunavut. We don’t even acknowledge our diversity, let alone celebrate or honour it.

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  3. Posted by Tim on

    Of course there is a “drag the feet” response by the premier. It is quite disconcerting “Inuit were under represented during the study”. This is taking into consideration there has been more than one “suicide by cop”. The one I remember hearing about was the 9/11 event in Pond Inlet.

  4. Posted by Pork Pie on

    When humans sense that they are accountable, which is to say, their actions are being noticed or watched, by their community they will much more readily conform to its norms than if they feel their actions are hidden, invisible, and beyond account.

    This becomes especially dangerous in the case of those with relative power. If accountability to societal norms lays beyond their horizon individuals with power are much more likely to do bad things; that is, to act with impunity. In some cases they may even form sub-cultures that respect different sets of norms than the broader society accepts.

    I’ll simplify; if humans believe (and studies have shown this behavior in other primates) that they can get away violence against others, expect that at some point they will do it.

    Recommended reading: Richard Wrangham ‘The Goodness Paradox’

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  5. Posted by Nunavutmiut on

    When people claim they were arrested for no reason and claim it was because of their race, these videos should be made public so that everyone could make a fair judgement. If they really didn’t do anything wrong, then they should be able to request the video and show the world they are correct. Also, if the RCMP didn’t do anything wrong, there should be no need to withhold the videos.

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    • Posted by Here here on

      The police didn’t know i recorded the incident but when the Justice league found out they left me alone.
      Now, if they want to blame me anymore I will show in detail how bad it is along with what they are doing. Multiple occasions too

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    • Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

      I don’t agree that just ANY video should be publicized UNLESS it is used as evidence in court OR the people DIRECTLY involved agree to the release.. The more this stuff becomes public, the more the armchair experts come out and judge, incorrectly most often, the person or the RCMP. Social media tends in many cases to go along with the original poster already.

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  6. Posted by Len Gibeault on

    People need to be very cautious around reserve constable. Because a reserve constable can only be investigated by a commanding officer and they usually refuse to investigated, even when the Civilian Complaints and Review Commission have found that the reserve constable is in question of committing unlawful acts.

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  7. Posted by Rick on

    53 officers wore cameras for 24 weeks, and 525 hours of video were recorded – That works out to 25 minutes of video per officer per week.

    Did someone miss a zero or something? Or was there only one camera shared among 53 officers?

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  8. Posted by Arctic man on

    RCMP will definitely be able to edit, which organization wouldn’t!!??

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  9. Posted by David wiseman on

    You do realize your dealing with a news paper that never checks it’s stories out they are a joke and yes I find them very disrespectful

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    • Posted by Yep on

      Truth! Too often they seem to repeat pres releases… that is it and that is all.

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