STRENGTHENED LAW WOULD TARGET TRAPS DESIGNED TO HURT PEOPLE: SWAN
– – – Government Takes Aim at Dangerous Properties With Proposed Legislation
Proposals introduced today by Justice Minister Andrew Swan would expand provincial legislation dealing with fortified buildings that pose a threat to public to include sanctions for setting traps likely to cause death or bodily harm when someone triggers them.
“Such traps are inherently dangerous and pose a threat to emergency response personnel, law enforcement officials and members of the public,” said Swan. “Criminals should face sanctions when they threaten the safety of police officers, firefighters and other first responders by setting traps to shield their illegal operations.”
The Fortified Buildings Act already allows orders forcing the removal of barricades and other obstacles that could pose a risk to public safety by interfering with an emergency responder or law enforcement official’s ability to access a building.
“Police officers put themselves at risk of bodily harm or death each and every day, especially those who deal with people involved in drug production, who may set traps to protect their illegal enterprise,” said Keith McCaskill, chief of the Winnipeg Police Service and president of the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police. “This legislation will be another valuable tool to assist the police in our province deal with these deadly threats.”
Under the proposals introduced today, the legislation would be expanded to make it a provincial offence for a person to set a trap that is likely to harm someone on a property or for a person who owns or occupies a property to knowingly let it remain there. Legitimate uses of traps or trap-like devices would still be allowed.
The legislation would let either the province’s Public Safety Investigations (PSI) unit or police apply for a warrant to enter a property to inspect it and seize such traps if there are reasonable grounds to believe that such devices are on the property. In addition, the legislation would require the PSI unit or police to remove or dismantle such traps.
Enforcement of the existing act by the PSI unit has forced the removal of fortifications at more than
The unit also enforces the Body Armour and Fortified Vehicle Control Act and the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Act (SCNA). More than 540 problem properties across the province have been shut down under the SCNA since February 2002, the minister said.
Complaints about problem properties can be made in confidence to PSI at 1430 – 405 Broadway and by calling 204-945-3475 or 1-800-954-9361 (toll-free).