Vancouver police move toward installing video surveillance in jail

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.




Dec 6, 2009 at 10:44am

I can't believe cameras have not been installed years ago. The only way to have any control over the police (since our city council will do nothing) is to have video and audio surveillance 24/7 in all prisons and police departments. The video control centre, however, should be controlled by civilians, not the police for obvious reasons. Until the police are controlled by civilian oversight, the cameras at least can help reduce illegal and brutal police actions.

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Dec 6, 2009 at 2:24pm

no surprise at all the VPD don't want cameras in their jails. then the guards will be seen selling drugs to the prisoners and organizing fights for profit, like any other jail.

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Media do your research!!!!

Dec 6, 2009 at 5:33pm

There are already cameras all over the Vancouver Jail (inside and out). All they are doing is updating the system with better cameras, and a more current recording system. The media should do better research before posting such pathetic stories. There was a day a long long time ago when reporters would actually research a story.

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I agree...

Dec 9, 2009 at 12:20am

This story is pathetic... there are numerous cameras inside and outside the Vancouver Jail... all of the cells and hallways where prisoners are present are covered. Really... make a phone call before reporting such drivel...

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