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Saint John police policy says armoured vehicle not ‘intended for crowd control’

Click to play video: 'Saint John police adds armoured rescue vehicle to its fleet' Saint John police adds armoured rescue vehicle to its fleet
The Saint John Police Force added a new vehicle to its fleet with an armoured rescue vehicle. As Travis Fortnum reports, armoured police vehicles have been controversial in other communities but Saint John police say it’s necessary. – Nov 14, 2019

Nearly a year after the Saint John Police Force acquired its armoured vehicle it has finally released a copy of the manual that governs its use.

The document, released through a Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (RTIPPA) request, reveals that the plan, or at least this version of it, was only created on Sept. 8.

As reported by the Telegraph-Journal, the Saint John Police Force told city council in July that it had yet to create a formal policy governing the use of the vehicle, which they call Rescue One.

Despite previously refusing to provide the documents, the four-page policy guide has now been released to media outlets through the request for information system.

Read more: Saint John Police Force unveils armoured vehicle, Rescue One

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The modified and armoured Ford F-550 was acquired in the wake of the shooting deaths of two Fredericton police officers and two civilians outside an apartment building in August 2018.

The force was approached by the Irving family, who said they wanted to make sure police would be safe should something similar unfold close to home.

John Irving, president of Commercial Properties, purchased the vehicle at a cost of more than $350,000. The vehicle was unveiled in November 2019.

Click to play video: 'Halifax cancels purchasing an armoured vehicle for police' Halifax cancels purchasing an armoured vehicle for police
Halifax cancels purchasing an armoured vehicle for police – Jun 9, 2020

According to the policy document, the vehicle can be deployed in two situations: where the risk to serious bodily harm exists to either police or the public, or in critical incidents, which include a few examples:

  • Armed and barricaded person
  • Armed person in public places
  • Hostage takings
  • Person with gun calls
  • Acts of terrorism

The document also states that although the armoured vehicle is not intended for “crowd control specific purposes” but says that it could be deployed “during mass gatherings” in support of the emergency tactical services unit for “tactical insertions” or “extractions” of civilians or victims as a protective measure.

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Click to play video: 'Saint John police adds armoured rescue vehicle to its fleet' Saint John police adds armoured rescue vehicle to its fleet
Saint John police adds armoured rescue vehicle to its fleet – Nov 14, 2019

The only person authorized to approve the use of the vehicle is the critical incident commander, an officer who holds a specific national qualification. If the critical incident commander is unavailable, then the decision falls to the patrol sergeant.

If it’s not in use, the armoured vehicle is supposed to be stored in a secured or monitored location.

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— With files from Global News’ Travis Fortnum

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