COVID-19: Kingston Police joins other Ont. police forces, will not conduct random stops

The Kingston Police force is joining the growing number of Ontario police departments that are refusing to conduct random traffic and pedestrian stops to enforce the latest COVID-19 public safety measures.

In the Ford government’s enhance shutdown announcement on Friday, police were granted new powers, which included the ability to stop and ID pedestrians and vehicles. This allowed police to question citizens if their travel is ‘essential’ or not, which sparked serious backlash from the public.

Read more: Many Ontario police forces won’t use new COVID-19 powers to conduct random stops

Kingston Police sent out a press release regarding their decision to not carry out random spot checks Saturday morning.

“Members of the Kingston Police will not be conducting random vehicle or pedestrian stops,” says Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely.

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“We will continue with traffic enforcement, engaging with members of the public and responding to calls for service, to keep our community safe. We will continue to do so in a fair and equitable manner.”

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Read more: Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions have science ‘absolutely upside-down,’ experts say

Kingston and the Islands NDP MPP Ian Arthur also responded to these new police measures, saying Ford’s decision targets marginalized populations.

“By choosing punishment and enforcement, Ford is playing the blame game instead of leading,” says Arthur.

“His actions will not protect the health of essential workers in hot-zones — especially Black, Indigenous and racialized people — but those folks will be disproportionately impacted by Ford’s enforcement measures.”

Kingston Police say their enforcement methods will remain the same, which are complaint-driven and proactive. Police say those who refuse to comply will receive the appropriate penalty.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions include increased police powers

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