RCMP inviting Stratford residents with surveillance cameras to aid investigations
March 11, 2021 By Canadian Press
Cpl. Glenn Dudley and Const. Lorenz Sanders presented the initiative to Stratford’s council during a meeting on March 10. The program is called Stratford CAPTURE, which stands for community-assisted policing through use of recorded evidence.
The idea is that anyone in Stratford who has a private surveillance camera—perhaps outside their home or their business—could volunteer to let the RCMP know about it. If a crime occurs in Stratford that officers are investigating, they could check the database to see if it may have been caught on video, Dudley said.
“It’s a quick go-to list to see who has cameras and who may be able to assist us.”
The cameras and video would still belong to their owners. Even if a camera is listed on the registry, the RCMP would need permission to use any video evidence for a case.
“It is just a registry. We don’t have live access to the cameras,” Sanders said. “It’s just a tool that we can quickly look at—like a phone book.”
In a follow-up interview with The Guardian, Sanders noted some program details are still being worked out and there’s no set start date.
Stratford would be the first area on P.E.I. to have a program like this, but the goal is to one day roll it out across the province depending on how effective it is in Stratford, Dudley said.
Most of the town’s council was pleased with the program. Coun. Gail MacDonald wondered how the video would be used should a resident or business agree to provide it.
“Would they be required to go to court,” she asked. “Or would their name be submitted?”
Dudley compared it to providing a witness statement. If a case ever went to trial, there could be situations where the resident or business representative is required to participate, but those situations are uncommon, he said.
“It’s not going to be overly intrusive. It’s just that you are confirming this is a video and it’s been unedited,” Sanders said.
The video would be used solely for the investigation. The Queens District RCMP has already had success in using the public’s video to solve investigations, and the registry would help pinpoint where to potentially get evidence in a more timely fashion, Dudley said.
“It would save us a lot of doorknocks,” he said. “(But) just because a person has this video, doesn’t mean they would be obligated to give it to us.”
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