Halton Regional Police Remind Citizens to Put Their Personal Safety First

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In light of the new Citizen’s Arrest and Self-defense Act, which came into effect on Monday, the Halton Regional Police are reminding citizens that despite this new legislation, they should still exercise caution in any situation that could put their personal safety at risk.

“First and foremost, we want people to think of their own personal safety first, and not take actions that could potentially result in serious injury to themselves, or others,” said Chief of Police Steve Tanner.
“Your first call should still always be to 9-1-1, as police are best equipped and trained to safely bring a suspect into custody.”
Chief Tanner explained that police officers are responsible for preserving and maintaining the public peace, and are properly trained in powers of arrest. He also explained that in Ontario, officers have to re-qualify on Use of Force options a minimum of once per year, and in the case of Halton, officers re-qualify two times per year. This ensures that all Halton police officers are appropriately trained on how to safely deploy various Use of Force options, in the event the suspect is armed or otherwise deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.
“We want to avoid a situation where a well-intentioned citizen takes it upon themselves to apprehend a suspected shoplifter or robbery suspect, but in the process, place themselves or others at greater risk, thereby escalating a situation rather than de-escalating it,” said Chief Tanner. Under the law, citizen’s arrests are only allowed when it is not feasible for a police officer to make the arrest. It also requires anyone making a citizen’s arrest to call the police immediately, and deliver the arrestee into police custody.
“Arresting someone can be a very serious and potentially life-threatening undertaking, which is why it is something that is best left to police,” said Chief Tanner. “It is our job to keep our community safe, and prevent and deter crime. The best way citizens can assist us is by contacting us immediately when a crime is in progress.”
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