The government yesterday signed a contract for more than $600,000 with Aston Enterprises (AE) Tactical Ltd. for 200 body and dash cameras.
“We’re happy today,” Dames told reporters following the signing at police headquarters.
“This is a historic day for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) and this is the day now where people begin to get closer to the work of the police force on a 24/7 basis. So, with these body cams and dash cams, this will certainly, you know, bring to the fore because the officers can’t change it.
“Once those cameras go live, it’s not like going and erasing it because you can’t do it. It becomes a part of a historical document.”
Dames said the body cameras and dashboard cameras are expected to be introduced to the force by the end of the first quarter of 2020.
He said Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson and a team of officers have drafted a policy outlining how the cameras will be used.
“…Remember we now need policies as to how to engage, how to use cameras so officers are using them responsibly and if there is any violation that there is some degree of accountability,” Dames said.
“So, the policy, the draft policy has been written and now the commissioner and his team are working on the training because officers have to be trained. It’s not like, ‘Let’s just put a body camera on’.
“This now calls for the highest level of professionalism, how officers approach members of the public, how they utilize their weapons and the tools that are given to them, how they use their vehicles. All of these things now will be put under tremendous scrutiny unlike ever before.”
The contract includes training for police and maintenance of the equipment, according to the minister.
Luke Hadeed, a representative for AE Tactical, described the contract as “one of the largest deployments of body-worn cameras anywhere in this region presently”.
“It’s a massive step for the Royal Bahamas Police Force and by extension the Ministry of National Security,” he said.
“Many of us are very well aware of the challenges facing police officers, policing in general in today’s world, and with such a critical piece of technology that’s been developed, it’s inevitable that it must come to shores of The Bahamas.”