New law to help police track down missing people
Police could have access to phone, banking records
Posted: Dec 3, 2012 4:59 PM AT
Last Updated: Dec 3, 2012 4:56 PM AT
The Dexter government will table a bill in the Nova Scotia legislature Monday to give authorities greater power to find someone who's disappeared suddenly and without explanation.
The Missing Persons Act would give police access to phone or bank records and even the power to enter homes.
Nova Scotia's Minister of Justice, Ross Landry, said this bill is needed to help police track down missing people faster.
"Right now, if investigators do not believe that a crime has been committed, they can't get a warrant, access bank records, phone records, information they need to find people who've gone missing," he said.
Under the proposed law, police would need to go before a judge to get the access they want, but they wouldn't have to prove they need the information as part of a criminal case.
Police back the law
RCMP Chief Superintendent Brian Brennan wholeheartedly supports the move.
"This legislation would give police in Nova Scotia another tool to more quickly help those in distress to the benefit of the person we're looking for or perhaps even prevent a crime from occurring."
Deputy Chief Chris McNeil of the Halifax Police Force offered a practical example of when police might need the power to enter a home under the new law:
"My 13-year-old is, for example, in the hands of a 25 or 26-year-old who may be holding that person or an opportunity to take advantage of them or victimize them," he said.
McNeil said that lower burden of proof will mean police will be able to act quicker to find a missing person.
A release from the provincial government said in 2011, RCMP and Halifax Regional Police received 1,400 missing persons reports.
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