In a humiliating rebuke to the Ford Government’s latest COVID clampdown Hamilton and Halton Police along with several other municipal police forces across the province have declared they will not engage in random stops and checks on residents. So far Peterborough Police, London Police Service , Waterloo, Niagara and Toronto have joined the revolt.
The president of the Peel Regional Police Association tweeted “Don’t make cops the bad guys here!”
Ottawa Police Service messaged, “We are very mindful of the perception of the broader public as well as within our more marginalized, racialized and/or Indigenous/Aboriginal/Inuit peoples,” said Ottawa police chief Peter Solly. “We do not want these powers to impact public trust.” Solly said.
Only the OPP have indicated they will enforce the new regulations.
The Hamilton Police Service issued a statement that reads in part:
On Friday, April 16, 2021, the Government of Ontario introduced new Stay at Home legislation aimed at curbing the rapid increase in cases of COVID-19. This legislation provides police with additional authorities under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) and included the authority to stop and question citizens for the sole purpose of enforcing this order.
Hamilton Police Service members remain committed to providing the highest quality of policing services and want to assure Hamilton citizens that our members will not be conducting arbitrary vehicle and person stops for the sole purpose of enforcing the Stay-at-Home order.
Police play a role in helping to keep our communities safe. Our enforcement approach will remain as it has for the past year. We will continue to focus our efforts on community engagement and education to gain compliance. Enforcement efforts will be reserved for those individuals who disregard attempts to reduce this disease in our community.
We can not do this alone. We need everyone to do their part and stay at home unless leaving for essential purposes.
Hamilton Police Service will be reviewing the new regulations when we receive them and prior to any change in our enforcement strategy, we will notify the public on how we plan to implement the new provincial orders.
We are all in this together.
Within an hour of the posting of this message it had received 1275 likes and nearly 500 re-tweets. Some of the comments of approval were from respondents who identified themselves as persons of colour.