Wednesday 28 October, 2020

JDF soldiers conducting operations without body cameras - Meade

File photo of JDF soldiers on an operation in St Catherine.

File photo of JDF soldiers on an operation in St Catherine.

Chief of Defence Staff, Lieutenant General Rocky Meade has revealed that body cameras obtained for Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldiers in 2019 failed to meet the requirements for the job.

“So, last year, we got some and they failed to meet the requirements, they were not sufficiently rugged to stand up to the normal activities of the troops,” Meade said as he answered a question posed by a journalist about the use of body cameras by the security forces while on operation.

Meade was attending a COVID-19 press conference at Jamaica House on Sunday. He was asked about the use of body cameras by soldiers in light of the fact they have increasingly taken on policing duties. This is evident in their deployment during the ongoing states of emergency during which they are allowed to operate with the same powers and duties as a constable.

The question was posed specifically in light of the fact that JDF soldiers have been implicated in the shooting death of 44-year-old Susan Bogle, a disabled resident of August Town, St Andrew, who was killed in an alleged shootout between the security forces and gangsters on May 27. Four soldiers have been removed from frontline duties and an investigation is being conducted by both the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

Meade said the army received a “different set (of cameras) this year that are currently undergoing testing”. He also conceded that the JDF currently does not have wide scale deployment of cameras “but we’re going through the process that would allow us to have cameras for the troops to use when they’re deployed”.

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