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RCMP should inform public about rationale behind unusual chase: N.S. premier

Click to play video: 'RCMP announce organized crime busts in Halifax after public concern' RCMP announce organized crime busts in Halifax after public concern
The RCMP ran operations in several Halifax-area neighbourhoods on Wednesday, as videos of officers in tactical gear made the rounds on social media. Police confirm they've made multiple arrests, seized weapons and drugs. Elizabeth McSheffrey reports – Dec 10, 2020

Nova Scotia’s premier says it’s important for the RCMP to communicate clearly with the public when it is involved in incidents like the street chase and drug raids that took place this week in Halifax.

Stephen McNeil’s comments on Friday follow the RCMP’s federal serious and organized crime section’s search of 13 sites across the city during an investigation into drugs and organized crime in the province.

Videos posted to Twitter showed a sedan being chased over grass by several unmarked RCMP trucks and SUVs near the Joseph Howe Drive and Highway 102 area.

In addition to the car chase, which ended in a crash, the Mounties raided an apartment near a high school as students were being dismissed.

Read more: RCMP announce organized crime busts in Halifax after concern over large, armed police presence

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The RCMP has said arrests have been made in the raids and suspects are in custody.

As events unfolded Wednesday, the police force issued a tweet saying that there was no risk to public safety.

“Some of the scenes you saw are scenes which are not typically seen in the province,” McNeil said during a news conference.

“It’s up to the RCMP to explain to the province and to its citizens why that action was taken,” he added.

“I know the attorney general is concerned about what’s happening, and we expect to hear from the RCMP, to communicate with Nova Scotians.”

McNeil also referred to some of the criticism the Mounties have received for their communication during the mass shooting in April when a gunman went on a 13-hour rampage, killing 22 people.

Click to play video: 'N.S. gunman had grenades, handguns equipped with laser sights' N.S. gunman had grenades, handguns equipped with laser sights
N.S. gunman had grenades, handguns equipped with laser sights – Dec 9, 2020

“If there’s anything we’ve learned in the last 10 months, communications to individual Nova Scotians matter when it comes to law enforcement,” he said.

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In the days after the April 18-19 murders, residents who were near the route of the killer said they had difficulty finding out what was occurring at the time.

The RCMP had provided updates on Twitter, but no public agency issued a public emergency alert that automatically pops up on smart phones.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 11, 2020.

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