Local police forces say they will not randomly stop people
LONDON, ONT. -- A day after sweeping new COVID-19 restrictions were announced, police forces across Ontario, including services throughout Southwestern Ontario, have stated they will not randomly stop people.
The province’s Solicitor General, Sylvia Jones, granted the authority as part of the province’s bid to put a lid on soaring COVID-19 case counts in Ontario.
For the chair of London’s Police Services Board- it hit close to home.
"I personally, as a health worker in this community experience this distress," said Dr. Javeed Sukhera. "My own children wonder if we can take a walk to the park in the middle of everything that’s going on."
The modified provincial emergency order would give police the power to stop people and ask them about where they live, and why they’re not at home.
Sukera said the announcement has created fear and uncertainty in the community.
"And it saddens us, at a time when so many people are struggling, that the government has made a decision to make that trouble worse, rather than provide and reassurance, rather than listening to health experts in addressing the crisis where it needs to be addressed.
The London Police Services Board issued a statement saying it has "serious concerns regarding the potential adverse impact and constitutionality of the provincial government’s expansion of police enforcement of the emergency stay at home order." It went on to say "we cannot enforce our way out of the pandemic..."
London Police Chief Steve Williams tweeted that police "will not be randomly stopping people."
Windsor Police were also quick to react. The municipal force tweeted that it will "not be randomly stopping people or vehicles."
Criminal defence lawyer Nick Cake said he’s not surprised by the reaction.
"It’s not too often that criminal defence lawyers and police are on the same side of things but we’ve heard from every major police service that they are not going to be randomly stopping people. And I think that’s because they realize that it violates every aspect of the charter, whether it be section eight for searches, section nine for detention, section seven for compelling statements."