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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/5/2009 (4182 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Vancouver police policy
LAST month, Vancouver police Chief Jim Chu issued a written apology to the Vancouver Province for seizing the camera of staff photographer Jason Payne at a police-related shooting scene (above).
The Vancouver Police Service also issued a "refresher bulletin" to officers interpreting their authority to seize photographic equipment from citizens or media. An excerpt from the bulletin follows:
With the proliferation of video-surveillance equipment in public and private spaces, it has become standard investigative procedure to canvass for surveillance video that may contain images of evidentiary value. This evidence is often very powerful in providing an accurate record of an incident. Generally, this evidence is seized with consent, although occasionally a search warrant will be required.
Similarly, on some occasions, a citizen or media person will be at a crime scene and have captured still photographs or video of some portion of the actual incident. It is incumbent upon members to attempt to secure this evidence, which may be vital to determining the truth of what occurred. (There may be people who show up at the incident after the fact to take video/pictures. In most cases, there is no evidentiary need to seize such images.) However, there MUST be legal authority to seize such items.
Our legal authorities are as follows:
1. With consent
2. As an incident to lawful arrest
3. Under (section) 487.11 CCC (Criminal Code Of Canada) and Common Law authority, which allow for seizure of evidence without warrant if grounds for a warrant exist, but it would be impracticable for police to obtain one based on "exigent circumstances."
4. With a (section) 487 CCC search warrant Exigent circumstances usually arise where "immediate action" is required for the "safety of the police or public" or to "secure and preserve evidence" of a crime. Other cases describe exigent circumstances as circumstances making seizure without warrant "necessary to prevent the imminent loss or imminent destruction of the evidence."
--courtesy Vancouver Province
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