As petitions reignite push for police body cameras, advocates insist money should be spent elsewhere

A petition calling for body cameras to be worn by all RCMP officers in B.C. has drawn more than 20,000 signatures in the week since it launched, but advocates say the push is misguided as the technology is not the proper solution for the province's systemic policing problems.

The petition, created by a West Kelowna, B.C., woman, says the cameras are necessary to prevent violent encounters between the public and police and increase officer accountability. A similar petition in Toronto has drawn more than 100,000 signatures.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau added to the push for cameras on Monday, saying he agrees Mounties should add them to uniforms and that he would raise the issue with premiers in a phone call this week.

Harsha Walia, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, said body cameras are not where officials should be investing if they want to address cyclical police violence. Walia, who noted B.C. has the highest rate of police-involved deaths per capita in the country, said Monday police cameras do not address or prevent the systemic over-policing faced by Black and Indigenous communities in the province.

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