Cobourg & Port Hope Police
Not going to stop citizens
By Valerie MacDonald
After announcing an order Friday under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that police in Ontario would be stopping and questioning residents outside their homes about where they were going, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has reversed that stance.
Police services across the province, including Cobourg and Port Hope, reacted quickly to Ford’s directive with statements in Facebook posts that they would be doing no such thing as part of the extended, and more restrictive provisions of the provincial Stay-At-Home order.
Cobourg police in a statement assured people they would continue with their 4 E approach (engage, explained, educate and enforce) but that they would “not be randomly stopping people.”
“Officers will investigate only if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating the government measures.
The Cobourg Police Service supports all measures necessary to limit the spread of COVID-19 and variants. We encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others – if it’s not essential, please stay home.”
Cobourg Police did, however, issue four tickets for violating the Stay-At-Home order on Saturday, April 17 when people gathered again at Victoria Hall, as they did the previous week when people failed to disperse when asked by police.*
Port Hope Police Service issued a similar statement about their intention not to randomly stop people. This is the notice on its Facebook page.
“On Saturday morning new measures were put in place by the Government of Ontario to help curb the rapid increase of Covid-19 cases. The new measures gave police the authority to stop any vehicle or pedestrian. The Port Hope Police will NOT randomly be stopping vehicles or pedestrians. We will continue to work with our local health unit, and our Municipality partners to ensure the safety of our community. We are still asking our community to do their part to help flatten the curve and stay home.”
*from a press release:
“On the afternoon of Saturday, April 17, 2021, police attended Victoria Hall located at 55 King Street West in Cobourg in response to a gathering taking place in violation of the current Stay-At-Home Order.
Police estimated there were approximately 30 individuals gathered in a group and walking along the street.
Recent changes to the current Stay-At-Home order prohibit all outdoor gatherings, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone.
Officers spoke with the group, engaging with the group to ensure understanding of the recent changes and clarity that those who chose not to comply would be charged accordingly. Interactions between the group and the police were respectful.
As a result, four people were charged with Fail to comply with an order made during a declared emergency, contrary to section 7.0.11(1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.”