Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Paul Rolle has warned officers to cease taking photographs of people during routine traffic stops or face disciplinary action.
In an email to police department heads yesterday, Rolle wrote, “With immediate effect, you are to ensure that the practice of photographing persons during routine traffic stops and stop and search is to cease with immediate effect.
“Officers wishing to take photographs of stop and search should avoid taking person’s faces, who have not been arrested.
“In the recent past, the commissioner of police has received an unacceptable level of complaints from members of the public regarding the conduct of police officers during traffic stops.
“Kindly speak to your officers regarding this practice as we will have no other recourse than to take disciplinary action should the practice persist.”
Police Staff Association (PSA) President Sonny Miller said yesterday that the association supports the decision.
“After looking at the directives of the information sent by the acting deputy commissioner of police, I can tell you executives of the Police Staff Association spoke about it briefly and we are in support of that,” Miller said.
He added, “It ain’t like there’s some breach or something like that. It’s merely a reminder and we will go and echo these reminders to our members.”
Miller said he hopes that the public will also be advised to not take photographs or record videos of police officers during traffic stops.
The Police Act grants officers, who have the permission of the commissioner, the authority to take photographs and record videos “for the purposes of identification” of individuals who may “from time to time” be in police custody.
However, the act notes that if an individual is acquitted in court or has no prior criminal convictions, then any photograph or video of that individual should be destroyed.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice