back to article Body cams too fragile for Canadian Mounties – so they won't be used

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) says it will not be equipping its officers with body cameras after the units were found to be not rugged enough for field use. The Mounties say that a three-year trial run of the body-worn camera (BWC) gear has concluded and will not be adopted because the units have neither the battery …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GoPro might have an in here, if only

    they could produce a rugged camera that does not have shit for software inside. I got a free GoPro 3+ Black Edition and after the second software update I could not keep a battery in the camera while it was off as it just ate up all the juice. Great, so now I have to plan ahead and forego any type of current time keeping in the device, since I will not run their app anymore. Why? They "updated" their iOS app, to thunderous dismay, the crapware needs you to login to the mothership so as to be functional. Fucking garbage on a stick.

    Here's a new tagline for them:

    GoPro! We used to make a good camera, then our marketing department took over and now we suck.

    Also, forget about our drone. That was a mistake. Just, just look away. For Dog's sake, LOOK AWAY!

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: GoPro might have an in here, if only

      that is a sad sad story. I feel sick.

      I cant stand it when you pay for some hardware , and the software turns useful hardware into shit.

      e.g. most satnav apps - why do I have to have data switched on and pissing away at great cost , while using satnav?? (assuming the device has a proper gps)

      e.g. early digital Cameras - all they had to do was put standard USB mass storage device driver in it, so photos could be retrieved by a drive letter . but no . They made it difficult beyond belief by knocking up the shittest software ever that had all fancy ideas about tags and libries, but ultimately made the most basic and essential task impossible - transfering a JPG from A to B.

      e.g the last freeview digibox i had - it had all the hardware, 2 tuners etc, but if you wanted to "rewind live tv" as the marketeers put it - you had to have thought earlier you might want to do that and pressed pause briefly to start the buffer running - it dosent do that by default when you change channel like every other box.

      1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

        Re: GoPro might have an in here, if only

        e.g. early digital Cameras - all they had to do was put standard USB mass storage device driver in it, so photos could be retrieved by a drive letter . but no . They made it difficult beyond belief by knocking up the shittest software ever that had all fancy ideas about tags and libries, but ultimately made the most basic and essential task impossible - transfering a JPG from A to B.

        @ V.Jeltz

        Have you tried using a USB connection and your computer's file manager to grab photos off your camera? I have three digital cameras: Pentax K100, Pentax Optio WG1 and a Panasonic TZ 70. All connect to my computers via a USB cable and let me use the file manager to drag and drop photos from the camera to my hard drive. No stupid apps needed, not even to empty the SD cards in the Pentaxes (the TZ70 insists on emptying its own image store). Come to think of it, this has worked with every camera I've ever tried it on.

        Alternatively, I just take the SD card out of the camera, put it in a card reader and use the file manager to move photos on and off it. I'm running Fedora Linux, but this should work with every OS whose file manager access a flash card in a reader.

        BTW, I agree with your comments about GPS apps, but why not write your own app? I bet one that didn't broadcast your whereabouts while draining the battery would be an instant hit.

  2. JustWondering
    Meh

    Hmmm ...

    Funny that they don't get cameras from the same place as the other police forces that are rather happy with them. The RCMP's experience seems to be fairly unique.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Hmmm ...

      The RCMP operate in a lot of places urban police forces don't.

      1. NoneSuch
        Thumb Up

        Re: Hmmm ...

        The RCMP also conduct themselves with appropriate restraint and courtesy in the vast majority of cases. They seldom need body cams. Something other police forces around the world could learn from.

    2. Ole Juul

      Re: Hmmm ...

      "Funny that they don't get cameras from the same place as the other police forces that are rather happy with them."

      And it did look like some US police forces were happy with them precisely because they were prone to breaking so there was plausible deniability.

      1. JustWondering

        Re: Hmmm ...

        And here I thought they were happy because they reduced violence and spurious complaints.

    3. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Hmmm ...

      RCMP aren't unique. They just seem to have a procurement department that cares that the product works.

      Body worn cams fail all the time. Most forces live with it, the project leads gets a promotion and someone else deals with the consequences. El Reg commentards, of course, call it a big conspiracy to cover up widescale abuses.

      1. MotionCompensation

        Re: Hmmm ...

        "They just seem to have a procurement department that cares that the product works."

        That makes them unique in government procurement.

      2. Eddy Ito

        Re: Hmmm ...

        The question is whether the it's known the cam has failed in the field. If it's discovered after the end of the shift it doesn't matter as it will have a substantial placebo effect on both the cop wearing it and the people interacting with said cop. On the other hand if it's visibly broken or flashing a "not working" signal then it's an open invitation for abuse.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hmmm ...

          Good point. I reviewed the stats on a British Police force's experience of body cams as an an independent analyst (it had 'problems with violence - on both sides of the truncheon) and it was clear that a visible body cam (aka asking light improved courtesy on both sides , reduce violence and false claims. We were allowed o run some experiment with small number of cameras without the 'awareness light - as well informing the officers involved that the cameras would not be on most of the time. Good and convincing results.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Hmmm ...

            They don't need their own cameras, if they are arresting someone and a bystander happens to film it they simply arrest the bystander and seize their phone as evidence

            http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/woman-files-complaint-against-whistler-rcmp-over-cellphone-seizure-1.3882355

  3. Michael Hoffmann
    Meh

    Confused equestrian here

    I can see the battery life criteria, but durability?

    Going by the basic fact that they're horse-mounted police, I'm confused, as eventers use helmet or other mounted cameras regularly and what they drag the cameras through would surely match any durability requirement? OK, maybe Canadian winters, but I've used cameras in the Antarctic and they survive and work.

    1. Neoc

      Re: Confused equestrian here

      @Micheal Hoffman

      For quite a while now the RCMP has done more than just go around the Territories while on a horse: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Canadian_Mounted_Police

      1. kain preacher

        Re: Confused equestrian here

        could of sworn i've seen the RCMP in regular police cars. Maybe I was just drunk.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Confused equestrian here

      Times change.

      The days described by Sat-Okh in his biographical books are long gone. Most mounties are not riding horses. They are no longer persecuting Indians for a living either.

      They still, however, operate in conditions which a lot of USA police never sees. 30C+ in summer in Saskatchewan to -30C in winter. Very few mass produced body cameras are reliable in these conditions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Confused equestrian here

        Maybe a trifle expensive bu the latest military one are - and given the average squaddies attention to his/her kit - need to be

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Confused equestrian here

        They do still take Indians out for rides out into the country before dropping them off to walk home in -30C winter. Known colloquially and in the subsequent murder investigation (when a victim froze to death) as "starlight tours"

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dudley and Nell

    Are you filming us, Dudley?

    Nooo, Nell, it's part of my job!

  5. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    How about mounting the cameras on the hats? (I like the hats.)

    1. Ole Juul

      You do realise that the "red surge" is for ceremonial use right? They don't wear that stuff on normal duty.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Joke

        You'll be telling us that hardly anyone gets defenestrated next.

      2. Peter Clarke 1
        Coat

        RCMP Documentary

        I used to watch a documentary about the RCMP= it was called Due South,

        Do they still use deaf albino wolves?????

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: RCMP Documentary

          must watch Due South again...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: RCMP Documentary

            "must watch Due South again..."

            Currently watching the entire series from the beginning after acquiring it recently.

            <Sir Humphrey mode>

            On a separate and entirely unrelated note, I see that Usenet is still a "thing"

            </Sir Humphrey mode>

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well....

    They've obviously not been trialing the right model of cam. There are plenty of ruggedised, hard wearing, decent battery life cameras out there. You just need to avoid the bells and whistles of cloud storage and opt for the good old docking station back at the office with a large HD for backup.

    1. localzuk

      Re: Well....

      There really aren't. Not many devices work reliably in the variety of environments that the RCMP cover. As someone says above, temperature ranges of -30 to 30 degrees are not unheard of... Very few cameras like that sort of cold, and batteries even less so.

      1. herman Silver badge

        Re: Well....

        Dawson City is a nice and balmy -32 C now.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Well....

      "They've obviously not been trialing the right model of cam. There are plenty of ruggedised, hard wearing, decent battery life cameras out there."

      Where, exactly? There are plenty of cameras around that might just barely manage an 8 hour day with fully charged, brand new batteries, and there are plenty that can stand up to a bit of knocking about on the odd weekend. But needing to work all day, every day for years under all conditions including extremes of weather, physical altercations, being shot at and attacked by bears, is an entirely different proposition.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Well....

        Why don't the Bears like the cameras - and who transferred the right to arm them north of the borders?

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