After initially resisting the plan, the Vancouver Police Department is moving ahead with the installation of a video surveillance system in its jail.
A report submitted for the December 9 meeting of the Vancouver police board indicates that Chief Jim Chu wrote a letter to the police services division of the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General last year asking for an exemption from this measure.
“The official response we received from Police Services Branch was that there would be no exemptions for any Police Department,” the report states.
The document didn’t note the department’s reasons as to why it should not be covered by such a measure.
In 2007, report recalled, then solicitor general John Les asked the division to develop regulations regarding the installation of video cameras in interview rooms and other areas in police buildings where police come into contact with detained persons.
The move followed a coroner’s inquest into the death of Ian Bush, a 22-year-old mill worker who was shot dead inside an RCMP detachment in Houston, B.C., in 2005.
There was a camera in the detachment but it wasn’t turned on when the shooting happened.
The report noted that a supplemental capital request for $900,000 was submitted to the City of Vancouver.
It added that the city’s response to the request will not be known until January 2010.
“Regardless of the decision of the City to fund this through the Supplemental Capital request, the VPD needs to proceed with this project or we risk being non-compliant when the legislation passes,” the report states.