Delta Police Body-Worn Camera Program Update
Police Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) are an important tool with multi-faceted benefits for the community and police departments. Benefits of using BWCs include, but are not limited to:
- increased public trust and confidence;
- increased police accountability and transparency;
- reduced use of force incidences by and against the police (officer safety);
- improved evidence documentation;
- enhanced resolution of complaints about alleged police misconduct; and
- providing enhanced training resources, when used for training.
Recognizing the value of these benefits, the Delta Police Department (DPD) has, over the past two years, utilized the following phased approach in implementing a BWC pilot program:
- December 16, 2020: BWCs deployment is authorized in support of policing organized or spontaneously occurring events involving civil disobedience, breaches of the peace, violence against persons or property, or targeted interference with economic interests, as well as internal use for training purposes.
- May 19, 2021: BWCs are temporarily authorized, for Interdiction Team policing activities directed at gang violence prevention. This authorization was provided during a time when much of the Lower Mainland experienced increased gang violence, including a homicide in North Delta’s Scottsdale Mall.
- September 15, 2021: BWCs deployment is permanently authorized for Interdiction Team policing activities. BWCs are also temporarily authorized for deployment by Traffic Section officers.
- June 22, 2022: BWC deployment is permanently authorized for Traffic Section officers.
The DPD currently has 16 BWCs available for use by officers.
Use of BWCs by DPD officers is regulated by Provincial Policing Standards, and officers must further comply with DPD specific BWC use policies. The DPD’s collection and secure management of BWC derived recordings is informed by and complies with a BWC program specific Privacy Impact Assessment, and complies with the B.C. Freedom of Information & Protection of Privacy Act. Compliance with the requirements of the Provincial Policing Standards and DPD policies is subject to audit oversight.
Unless it is unsafe in the moment to do so, persons filmed by DPD officers using a BWC are told they are being filmed. The circumstances under which BWCs may be used by officers are limited in accordance with policy, and officers are not allowed to film continuously or indiscriminately.
The BWC implementation program to date has cost approximately $9,000. While the total cost of the purchase of BWC and associated equipment was $18,000, approximately half of the cost ($9,000) was funded by a ‘Police Training and Equipment Grant’ from the provincial Civil Forfeiture Office.
Senior management and the Delta Police Board are kept current on the BWC program's status and any recommendations for further expansion of the program, for example to possibly expand BWC use to patrol officers.
Police Board Chair, Mayor George V. Harvie, has updated Deputy Premier and Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, on DPD’s deployment of BWC technology. Most recently, in correspondence with Mayor Harvie, in response to BWC updates, Minister Farnworth notes:
“I also commend DPD on its proactive approach in adopting this important technology given the current and emergent pressures amid policing modernization, enhanced police accountability, improved officer safety, and evidence collection. Additionally, I appreciate your acknowledgment of the benefits derived from the supportive provincial funding that was provided for DPD’s BWC deployment through the “Police Specialized Training and Equipment” grant from the Civil Forfeiture Office. I wish DPD continued success as it moves forward with plans to widen its deployment of BWC technologies.”
Chief Dubord notes that “the ongoing BWC program holds value in encouraging and promoting public confidence and trust in policing along with various other benefits; this is especially important during increased calls for police modernization by the communities. Moreover, this program is aligned with the DPD’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan goals of leveraging technology to enhance and develop efficiencies for continuous improvement and utilizing technological and equipment advancements for officer safety. Should the community have any feedback about the usage of BWCs, they are encouraged to contact my Office.”
The DPD is considering expansion of the BWC pilot program to additional sections of the department. Community input is valuable and the DPD is seeking public input regarding the expansion of the BWC pilot program for operational use. Members of the community wishing to know more about the operation of the DPD’s BWC program, and the use of BWCs by officers, can refer to the DPD’s BWC Policy – OD19 and its Guidelines and Authorized Use description, both available on the DPD’s website at . Anyone wishing to provide feedback about the DPD’s use of BWCs can write the DPD at or on our website at .