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OK – So I needed a home for some rants and commentary. But I do lift my head from the streets sometimes to peruse the world at large and what I see sometimes ain’t too pretty. Comments and retaliatory rants welcome.Firearm Free Zone


:: The Magic of Truth & Lies – Marco tempest – TED Talks Video

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Topic: Private Security Firm Hired to Move Homeless Out of Toronto Chinatown

Part II

View north of Dundas on Spadina Chinatown.

View north of Dundas on Spadina Chinatown.

My goal here on the Missionlog Commentary web page over the next few days is to provide some insight into this issue of homelessness and private policing of public community property.  —

Part I is here.

A recent article from the National Post on August 25, 2008 has some good insight into the issue of public safety and community patrols by private security guards.  It’s a very compelling and insightful article, well researched and balanced.

Here’s another quote from Dave Wilson, of the Toronto Police Services Association:

“{He] has complained that private, lesser-trained employees taking over duties historically delegated to police is “lowering the standards in the policing world,” and “a dangerous slippery slope. Private security is profit-driven security and it belongs on private property,” he said in an interview.

And another from Randy Lippert, a sociology professor at the University of Windsor, from the same article. “Despite its popularity, Prof. Lippert said there are some compelling questions to consider surrounding accountability and training. “Generally speaking, would most people like to have a private security guard making decisions that dramatically affect people’s lives when they’re only getting paid 10 or 11 dollars an hour?” he said. “I’m not saying that all private security people are like that, but certainly you’re starting to scrape the bottom of the labour pool…. A lot of them are wannabe, as they say
‘wanstables,’ people who in some cases didn’t make it.”

Visit the Article and Digg it here. ” National Post – Private Security in Toronto Chinatown Sparks Safety Debate

To provide a good background for the enforcement activities of private security firms like Intelligarde, it’s important to review the major legislation the Toronto Police use when dealing with the homeless, The Ontario Safe Streets Act –

Safe Streets Act, 1999

Definitions

In sections 2 and 3,

“solicit” means to request, in person, the immediate provision of money or another thing of value, regardless of whether consideration is offered or provided in return, using the spoken, written or printed word, a gesture or other means. 1999, c. 8, s. 1.

In this section,

“aggressive manner” means a manner that is likely to cause a reasonable person to be concerned for his or her safety or security. 1999, c. 8, s. 2 (1).

Solicitation in aggressive manner prohibited

2. No person shall solicit in an aggressive manner. 1999, c. 8, s. 2 (2).

Examples

3. Without limiting subsection (1) or (2), a person who engages in one or more of the following activities shall be deemed to be soliciting in an aggressive manner for the purpose of this section:

1. Threatening the person solicited with physical harm, by word, gesture or other means, during the solicitation or after the person solicited responds or fails to respond to the solicitation.

2. Obstructing the path of the person solicited during the solicitation or after the person solicited responds or fails to respond to the solicitation.

3. Using abusive language during the solicitation or after the person solicited responds or fails to respond to the solicitation.

4. Proceeding behind, alongside or ahead of the person solicited during the solicitation or after the person solicited responds or fails to respond to the solicitation.

5. Soliciting while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs.

6. Continuing to solicit a person in a persistent manner after the person has responded negatively to the solicitation. 1999, c. 8, s. 2 (3).

3.1 In this section,

“public transit vehicle” means a vehicle operated by, for or on behalf of the Government of Ontario, a municipality in Ontario or a transit commission or authority in Ontario, as part of a regular passenger transportation service; (“véhicule de transport en commun”)

“roadway” has the same meaning as in the Highway Traffic Act; (“chaussée”)

“vehicle” includes automobile, motorcycle, van, truck, trailer, bus, mobile home, traction engine, farm tractor, road-building machine, bicycle, motor-assisted bicycle, motorized snow vehicle, streetcar and any other vehicle drawn, propelled or driven by any kind of power, including muscular power. (“véhicule”) 1999, c. 8, s. 3 (1); 2002, c. 17, Sched. F, Table.

Solicitation of captive audience prohibited

No person shall,

(a) solicit a person who is using, waiting to use, or departing from an automated teller machine;

(b) solicit a person who is using or waiting to use a pay telephone or a public toilet facility;

(c) solicit a person who is waiting at a taxi stand or a public transit stop;

(d) solicit a person who is in or on a public transit vehicle;

(e) solicit a person who is in the process of getting in, out of, on or off a vehicle or who is in a parking lot; or

(f) while on a roadway, solicit a person who is in or on a stopped, standing or parked vehicle. 1999, c. 8, s. 3 (2).

In this section,

“outdoor public place” means,

(a) a place outdoors to which the public is ordinarily invited or permitted access and, for greater certainty, includes but is not limited to a sidewalk, street, parking lot, swimming pool, beach, conservation area, park and playground, and

(b) school grounds. 1999, c. 8, s. 4 (1).

Disposal of certain dangerous things prohibited

No person shall dispose of any of the following things in an outdoor public place:

1. A used condom.

2. A new or used hypodermic needle or syringe.

3. Broken glass. 1999, c. 8, s. 4 (2).

Defence

It is a defence to a charge under subsection (2) for the person who disposed of the condom, the needle or syringe or the broken glass to establish that he or she took reasonable precautions to dispose of it in a manner that would not endanger the health or safety of any person. 1999, c. 8, s. 4 (3).

Offence

Every person who contravenes section 2, 3 or 4 is guilty of an offence and is liable,

(a) on a first conviction, to a fine of not more than $500; and

(b) on each subsequent conviction, to a fine of not more than $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both. 1999, c. 8, s. 5 (1).

Arrest without warrant

A police officer who believes on reasonable and probable grounds that a person has contravened section 2, 3 or 4 may arrest the person without warrant if,

(a) before the alleged contravention of section 2, 3 or 4, the police officer directed the person not to engage in activity that contravenes that section; or

(b) the police officer believes on reasonable and probable grounds that it is necessary to arrest the person without warrant in order to establish the identity of the person or to prevent the person from continuing or repeating the contravention

— [end of safe Streets Act] —

Stay tuned, check back here often – I’ll post excerpts on the main blog page to notify you when new content is added.

:: More to come… check back often!

Archives:

older posts and articles will be archived occasionally…

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6 Responses

  1. While I agree that security guards cannot, and should not, replace professionla police officers on the street, I do believe that we can still serve a useful support function. Licensed security agencies are hired by the private sector to provide a measure of protection for various properties. Depending on the province, some security firms can issue handcuffs, batons and drive vehicles with lightbars. Other provinces strictly prohibit all of these. I do not see the point in security vehicles with lightbars are these cannot be used on a public road or highway. And we DO NOT drive emergency vehicles. I do, however, see the need for better protection such as batons, if the guard finds him/herself in danger. Pepper spray should only be issued to K-9 guards (for the dog!).

    Although security guards are being hired by various neighbourhood organizations to “deter crime,” we are limited in our powers to do so. The first and still the most important mandate for all security guards is to observe and report. We can intervene in the commission of a crime, such as acts of vandalism or to come to the aid of a person being harrassed or assaulted, but we are not police officers and do not have anything close to the power that they possess.

    If security firms are being used to patrol neighborhoods, whether they be downtown or in the suburbs, then they must remember that their job is to observe and report FIRST. If they observe a crime in progress, then call 9-1-1. DO NOT intervene unless it is absolutely necessary.

    As a former soldier, I am a big believer in training. Too many security companies put their employees on site with minimal training. And yes, I have met too many wannabe cops who clearly does not have what it takes to be a law enforcement officer. They walk around with their duty belts loaded down with every conceivable item (less a gun), and wear their tactical gloves all day long. They are a danger to themselves and others around them, and should not be employed in any uniform capacity.

    There needs to be better standards in the security industry, Uniforms and equipment need to be standardized, and a national training program put in place. Wannabe cops and unstable individuals MUST be weeded out with better and more thorough psychological evaluations.

    To this end, I have introduced a more thorough vetting procedure and a very professional training program for all my current and new employees that will better prepare them for the duties they will be assigned to. Hopefully, i can do my part to raise the bar regarding standards, training and hiring practises. We are not “para-police” now and should not be in the future. We can provide a level of support to the police, while at the same time ackowledging our own limitations and not overstepping boundaries with delusions of grandeur.

  2. Thanks for your insightful comments Bill. If you’d like to post a link to your website, please do so here – I’m still getting several hits a day on this topic – and don’t mind steering folks your way with such an enlightened view on standards and training.

    To add to your comments and to emphasize my own:

    I feel security guards should be prohibited from patrolling public property such as sidewalks and neighbourhood streets, especially with K9 dog units and pepper spray. Perhaps it is the public that needs to carry pepper spray in the event of encountering agressive guard dogs on city sidewalks as I have in Chinatown.

    Regards
    <
    Andy

  3. Hi, I do not know if this blog is still going. I would like to know where the major areas in the city of Toronto have homeless people. Any age. I am doing a Christmas thing for the homeless in Toronto and St. Catharines.
    I am getting cards with blanks inside and getting kids and youth to write thoughtful notes and draw pictures in the cards. I am also collecting 5$ to get a bunch for timmies cards to put with the Christmas cards for a gift. I am then going to go hand them out throughout December.

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