Windsor

Windsor police chief questions new street-check regulations

Windsor police Chief Al Frederick cautioned the Ontario government about potential impact of the changes.
Windsor police Chief Al Frederick says the province's new street-check regulations will require a significant shift in how officers operate.

The roll out of the province's new police regulations that guard against random street checks will be a dramatic change in how officers operate, Windsor's police Chief Al Frederick cautioned Tuesday.

Starting Jan. 1, 2017, police must tell people they have a right not to talk with them when approached randomly on the street. Walking away cannot then be used as reasons to compel information.

Frederick flagged the Ontario government during consultations that the changes were not a good idea, but the new regulations were announced earlier this month.

"Unfortunately, my views really didn't influence the changes in the regulations that came out," Frederick said after a police board meeting Tuesday.

The chief worries the changes will be a challenge to roll out across the province.

"We need to be sensitive to the fact that it's a huge change in direction for policing [that is] hundreds of years old, basically," Frederick said. "There's going to be a steep learning curve and the training's going to have to be very clear and concise."

Officers can still stop and talk to people on the streets and ask questions, the chief explained, but in 2017 they must inform the person they are in no way obligated to reveal their identification or cooperate. 

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