Kingston police join other forces in not conducting random stops under new Ontario health regulations
KINGSTON, ONT. -- Kingston police will not be conducting random stops of people outside their homes under Ontario's expanded public health measures, joining other police services in the province, such as Ottawa and Toronto.
In a release, Kingston police said the police service's enforcement strategy would not change.
"The Kingston Police will review the new regulations once released by the government, to determine the most appropriate response for those not in compliance. However, at this time, our current enforcement response will remain the same – both complaint driven or proactive, with the goal of gaining compliance. Those who refuse to comply will receive the appropriate penalty," the release said.
Police Chief Antje McNeely said random stops would not be included.
"Members of the Kingston Police will not be conducting random vehicle or pedestrian stops. We will continue with traffic enforcement, engaging with members of the public and responding to calls for service, to keep our community safe. We will continue to do so in a fair and equitable manner," McNeely said.
McNeely urged residents to continue following public health guidelines and Ontario's stay-at-home order, which permits outings only for essential reasons such as getting groceries and medicine, going to an essential workplace, a medical appointment, or childcare, and getting exercise.
Ontario introduced new measures Friday to enforce the stay-at-home order that include giving police the authority to stop anyone outdoors, including pedestrians and drivers, and ask them why they aren't home and where they live. Anyone who is not outside for an essential reason could be subject to a fine.
However, several police services in Ontario have said they would not be stopping people randomly to uphold the new rules, including the Ottawa Police Service, Cornwall Police, Toronto Police, Waterloo Regional Police, Peterborough Police, Guelph Police, and London Police.
"It is important to reiterate that everyone in our community has a role to play in stopping the spread and transmission of COVID-19, and that includes staying at home unless for essential reasons, and practicing public health guidelines," McNeely said.
The Ontario Provincial Police, whose jurisdiction includes provincial highways and municipalities without their own police services, is urging residents to comply with the stay-at-home order.
"Although voluntary compliance is always preferred, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA), Re-Opening Ontario Act (ROA) and federal Quarantine Act, there are consequences for individuals who choose to defy the emergency orders that are in force," the OPP said in a release. "The public is reminded that individuals who fail to comply with the restrictions can be issued a minimum fine of $750. Those who obstruct an authority or individual from enforcing or complying with an order can receive a minimum fine of $1,000, and those who host parties or gatherings in violation of the regulations can face a maximum fine of $10,000 on conviction."
The OPP said it would be announcing details about charges laid on its social media accounts.
The Gananoqiue Police Service says it will not be doing random stops of people or vehicles.
"The Gananoque Police Service will continue to engage, explain, educate, and where appropriate enforce," said the service in a statement Saturday afternoon.
"We continue to recognize that we must have public trust."