Verified response policy takes effect in one Canadian province

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Saturday, June 1, 2002

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia-Alarm dealers here are struggling to deal with a new blanket policy that requires alarms to be verified before provincial authorities will respond.

In late March, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police sent out a letter notifying the Canadian Alarm and Security Association and its membership of the revision to the RCMP's policy.

Dan Small, general manager of Armstrong's Communication Ltd. in Dartmouth and president of CANASA's Atlantic region said that it appeared the RCMP had instituted the policy out of the blue.
"The RCMP made the changes without consultation or prior notification to the alarm industry," Small said.

Although the blanket policy applies only to municipalities that do not have an existing alarm ordinance, Small said it is the communities without ordinances of their own that cannot afford to lose the automatic response from the provincial police.

"The thing for the RCMP, the biggest problem, is that they handle mostly rural areas," Small said. "Lots of these small municipalities may not have the infrastructure" to handle a verified response policy, he said.

RCMP officials could not be reached for comment, but in the letter sent to CANASA members, Cpl. Wayne Fraser of the Criminal Operations Branch said that police will "make every effort" to make local lawmakers aware of the need for an ordinance "that will address the needs of the police and the community."

The local branches of the RCMP, called detachments, are free to make their own policies on the local level, not from a mandate from top-level decision makers in Ottawa, Small said.

"There will be an impact on business, no question," he said.

CANASA officials were working to see if the policy could be repealed or modified, he said.