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Controversial armoured vehicle for Halifax police to arrive in spring 2020, city announces

The vehicle will cost the municipality $368,000, which is less than the $500,000 HRP had budgeted for.
The vehicle will cost the municipality $368,000, which is less than the $500,000 HRP had budgeted for. Winnipeg Police Handout

Halifax says a controversial armoured vehicle for the municipality’s police force will arrive this spring.

Brendan Elliott, a spokesperson for the municipality, confirmed that Halifax Regional Municipality’s chief administrative officer awarded the contract to Terradyne Armored Vehicles Inc., on Sept. 23.

Elliott said that the company, based out of Newmarket, Ont., will deliver a Gurkha MPV in spring 2020 for use by the Halifax Regional Police (HRP).

The vehicle will cost the municipality $368,000, which is less than the $500,000 for which HRP had budgeted.

READ MORE: HRM issues tender for Halifax police’s armoured rescue vehicle

The response from the public to the armoured vehicle has been mixed.

Critics in Halifax say the vehicle makes the police service militaristic, especially to minority and marginalized groups in the city.

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HRP have said the vehicle would help them address the ever-changing number of issues they encounter while providing a “level of safety” for officers and the public.

The force has previously stressed that the vehicle would not be equipped with weaponry or “aggressive equipment.”

Armoured vehicle vandalized in Sacvkille, N.B.
Armoured vehicle vandalized in Sacvkille, N.B.

Mixed results for armoured vehicles

Police departments in Atlantic Canada have had mixed results when using armoured vehicles.

April 2018 saw the Fredericton Police Force unveil their armoured vehicle, which came with a six-year lease at the cost of approximately $57,000 per year.

The vehicle is used by Fredericton’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) and has been deployed on multiple occasions.

READ MORE: Halifax police launch push for armoured rescue vehicle

The vehicle was also deployed in August 2018, during the fatal shooting of two Fredericton police constables, Sara Burns and Robb Costello, and civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.

But the police force of New Glasgow, N.S., decided to give away their armoured vehicle only four years after the surplus military vehicle was provided to the town free of charge by the Canadian military.

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The town’s police chief told The Canadian Press in 2017 that the 10-tonne light-armoured vehicle — complete with a rotating turret — was never really put to good use.