Cornwall police won’t conduct random checks

(Newswatch Group/File)

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 11:53 a.m. to add that Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service can conduct random checks, endorsed by the MCA.

CORNWALL – The Cornwall Police Service says it won’t be taking advantage of new powers afforded by the provincial government to exercise random checks on drivers and pedestrians.

“Members of the CPS will not be conducting random pedestrian or vehicle stops. We will continue to respond to complaints on a calls-for-service basis, using officer discretion, with the objective of gaining compliance,” the force said in a statement Saturday morning.

The move mirrors the position taken by a lot of other municipal police services in Ontario, including Ottawa.

But the Ontario Provincial Police has made it clear that it “now has the ability to ask anyone outside their residence, including motorists, to indicate their purpose for leaving home and provide their address.”

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne also plans to allow its police officers to conduct random checks. “Police officers have the authority to ask anyone outside their residence to provide their address and indicate their purpose for being outside their residence,” it said Saturday.

Increased restrictions announced by the Ontario government Friday to get the COVID-19 spread under control, included giving police officers and provincial offences officers additional power under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Cornwall Police Chief Danny Aikman says the department will continue to uphold the law “through a means of education, engagement and enforcement for anyone who refuses to comply” with provincial measures.

The CPS adds that you shouldn’t be calling them for details on the provincial measures as it ties up phone lines needed for emergencies.