Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 8th 2014 Contents A25
Monday, December 8, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Protests have again erupted in several
cities in the USA in response to what
is perceived, by the Afro-American
community, as targeted police brutality. As
a consequence of this and past incidents,
the call for police officers on patrol to
wear body cameras has gathered momen-
tum, including one for funding by Presi-
The use of science, technology and
innovation in policing is not new. But
adoption of new and emerging technolo-
gies in law enforcement is set to grow.
Evidence-gathering is fundamental to
effective law and order practice. The video
and audio evidence available from cameras
mounted on officers can certainly provide
clear and unbiased evidence. It will elimi-
nate or reduce significantly the subjective
"one said/the other said" type of contra-
dictory evidence that regularly emerges
from encounters between police and peo-
The promise of increased accountability
and improved evidence-gathering has led
to pilot studies being commissioned in
cities in the USA.
In 2012, the town of Rialto in California,
USA, carried out a pilot study. The results
indicated that there was a 60 per cent
reduction in the numbers of incidents
involving the use of force by officers and
an 88 per cent reduction in complaints by
the citizenry. In Mesa, Arizona, similar
results were observed.
The New York Police Department has
fast-tracked plans to test the use of body
cameras on some 50 patrol officers for a
three-month trial period. The intent is to
evaluate and maybe extend the pro-
There are similar claims of police bru-
tality and the shooting of unarmed people
in T&T and hence a pilot programme
should be implemented locally for patrols.
It should also include officers from both
the Defence Force and the Police Service
on joint patrols. A carefully thought-out
programme may help in mitigating the
existing tension between officers and resi-
dents of crime "hot spots." At a mini-
mum, it would provide an unbiased third
source of evidence.
The recording and airing (through social
and electronic media) of events and situa-
tions using mobile phones by onlookers is
an already established practice. This, how-
ever, is ad hoc in nature and may not
provide close-up video and adequate
audio that can meet courtroom standards.
Body-mounted cameras can provide such
consistent and reliable evidence.
In the worst-case scenario, it would lead
to a less aggressive and a more profes-
sional approach by officers as they would
be mindful of what they say and do to
people with whom they are interacting, as
the proceedings will be recorded.
On the other side of the coin, people
directly involved and those supportive of
criminal and anti-social behaviour will not
be able to falsely accuse officers or give
distorted accounts of what happened
without being challenged. This can only
lead to better and more effective policing.
The implementation of such a pro-
gramme, however, needs to be properly
planned and implemented as it would
require, in the first instance, a significant
upgrading of the technological capabilities,
resources and personnel, specifically the
ICT systems and human resources, of the
The training of the officers themselves
will need to be changed to satisfy the
requirements for this technologically-
enhanced mode of policing. The necessary
legislative changes regarding privacy and
evidence collection would also need to be
This venture would not be cheap, but
when one considers the amount of money
already spent on the effort to reduce
crime, it is about time that more technol-
ogy-based smart solutions are adopted to
achieve the desired outcome. Emphasis on
increasing the number of police personnel
and vehicles will not bring the desired
results. The emphasis must be on the
increased use of science, technology and
innovation in policing.
In a recent press article, the Minister of Hous-
ing, Dr Moonilal stated that 1,000 HDC housing
Units will be handed out to lucky applicants for
the Christmas season.
This gesture may seem to be a blessing to
some would-be owners, but others like me, who
have already made down payments since July
2014 and are making monthly installments to
mortgage finance, it is disheartening. It is a fi-
nancial setback, as we continue to make
monthly rental payments to our landlords (dou-
ble indemnity) whilst waiting to receive our
The financial burden placed on us by the HDC
and by extension the goodly minister, to satisfy
a political agenda at the expense of our right to
occupy the premises, is unfair.
Mr Minister, you are causing financial hard-
ship to me and many like me.
Neil Curtis James
Ichallenge anyone to prove that our sweet peo-
ple of T&T are racist. I challenge everyone so
inclined to play mas in "we" Carnival and experi-
ence Trini peace, love, harmony and brother-
Carnival is more than a display of costumes
and revelry. It is a true representation of "we"
culture in its naked form, unpoliticised, un-
tainted by biased machinations and coercive
politricks, pure in spirit and culturally revealing.
There is no racism here!
What racism do "they" speak of? Where else
in the world exists the harmony of a mosque, a
Christian church and a Hindu temple just feet
away from each other? Visit any bar, grocery,
business, restaurant or school playground and
witness "we" all playing on the same grounds,
together, equally sharing our T&T space and en-
joying the friendships of citizenry of our won-
derful country, T&T.
"We" are a friendly people!
It's time "we" speak out loudly, forcefully and
courageously against anything and everything
racist. "We" are a beautiful people living in a
beautiful country where friendliness is our way
of life. Let no racist talk or politricks of racism
separate our people.
If the world experienced playing mas with
"we" Trinis, John Lennon's Imagine and world
peace would be possible.
"We" real sweet, T&T, everything else is a lie!
SCIENCE AND SOCIETY
BODY CAMERAS FOR POLICE IN T&T?
A Los Angeles Police officer wears an on-body camera during a demonstration for media in
Los Angeles. Officers in one of every six departments around the country are now patrolling
with these tiny cameras on their chests, lapels or sunglasses, and that number is growing.
Most civil libertarians support their expansion despite concerns about the development of
policies governing their use and their impact on privacy. AP PHOTO
Facing a gloomy Christmas
Let no racist talk divide us
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