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Police Checks Delayed

Police checks delayed
Published Friday January 28th, 2011 
Times & Transcript Staff

RCMP policy created to protect the vulnerable sector of our population – children, the disabled and elderly, is causing delays in criminal checks. If you are having a police check done in order to work at a library or volunteer with children, and your date of birth and gender match a pardoned sex offender, you will need to get your fingers inked, sometimes at your own expense, and wait until the prints have been sent to Ottawa to be checked with the national database of pardoned sex offenders, a wait that can be up to three months.

The RCMP has seen a major increase in requests for finger printing since the policy changed in July 2010.

District Commander Marlene Snowman told Port Elgin Council that the increase of ‘police letters’ in their monthly RCMP report is due to this policy, saying that “there had been a drastic increase in finger printing.” She said that RCMP District 4 has set one day a week aside, in the offices in Shediac and Sackville, to process all of the finger printing.

Snowman also reported to council that “issues had been dealt with” regarding the vandalism on the school grounds and in downtown Port Elgin.

Snowman told council that a couple of houses in Port Elgin had been given a first warning regarding complaints from neighbours that their house was being used for illegal activities.

Snowman explained that new provincial legislation passed last year has given authority to a police team called the SCAN Team (Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods) that works out of Moncton and consists of retired and active police officers, to evict homeowners or renters from their homes and board up the house.

Although the team does not have the authority to charge individuals, they do have the power to evict the residents from their own home, and board it up, if there are enough complaints against that resident. The legislation allows residents to anonymously report any criminal activity in a building, such as producing or selling illegal drugs, prostitution, unlawful sale of alcohol, unlawful gaming or illegal firearms. The toll free number is 1-877-826-2122.

Councillor Tanya Trenholm expressed some hesitation about the legislation, wondering if it could be used against an innocent person with “a lot of enemies.” Snowman replied that this legislation was proving very effective in Nova Scotia and the police make a thorough investigation to substantiate the complaints

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