Getting the Best Out of Your Local Police
By Ken Shibasaki, Senior Analyst, Riskboss Inc.
How do you ensure that you get the best out of your local police? Here are two ways to help the police assist you in reducing crime and disorder in your highrise community and responding quicker to emergencies. There is no cost, but the results are significant. Contact your local police through the Office of the Chief of Police and ask for both these programs. You will be glad you did.
ANDY CODE ACCESS PROGRAM (Toronto Only)
Riskboss has been alerting property management companies of a relatively new program developed by the Toronto Police Service. Allowing police into condominium and apartment communities for anything other than an emergency, or a search/arrest warrant can have unintended legal ramifications with respect to privacy. In real life emergency situations; however, seconds count.
Allowing emergency responders to gain immediate access through the main entrance has distinct and real benefits to residential high- rise communities. The Andy Code Program is an excellent idea created by a Toronto police officer and can be implemented at your site relatively quickly and easily. The program can only be used during emergencies and all access is tracked through the Toronto Police Service Communications Centre. There is no cost for this program.
How Does the Program Work?
- The program is only used during emergency situations when police are called to a building where there is an access control panel
- Only police (often assisting fire /ambulance) will be allowed into a community
- Attending police officers will enter in the assigned entry code number
- into the building Mesh Panel in the main lobby (“TPS” or “EMS”)
- This will activate the Mesh Panel, and a call to the Toronto Police Communications Bureau will be made
- Communications personnel will recognize on-duty personnel
- There is no need to program a door unlock code since the codes are different for each building and may be accessed by unauthorized persons
- This program eliminates the delay caused by calling a building superintendent or a property manager to attend during the middle of the night for emergency access
- This program dramatically reduces the response time for emergency responders in life and death situations
- A record of the entry will be kept maintaining the integrity of the system
Riskboss has conducted over fifty comprehensive risk assessments over the past five years in large-scale highrise buildings in Toronto. Yet, at each site we visit, the Andy Code Program has not been set up, and there is often no knowledge of the program.
Riskboss has recently communicated with the Toronto Chief of Police to recommend the promotion of this program city-wide.
TRESPASS AUTHORIZATIONS (Province Wide)
The Trespass to Property Ac is a provincial piece of legislation that allows property owners to take action when people illegal enter on their property, act in a manner that contravenes property rules and fails to leave when asked to do so.
Police officers throughout Ontario have the ability to enter on to private property when they actually see a criminal offence taking place in order to make an arrest. Alternatively; however, police cannot act on your behalf to deal with local nuisance and disorder issues on your behalf on your property (e.g. loiterers) unless you provide them permission to do so. Often police are called during such issues; however, by the time they get there, the offenders are long gone.
It is simply a matter of writing a letter to the Chief of Police in your local jurisdiction requesting police to attend on your behalf and proactively deal with nuisance and disorderly conduct. These letters are a must-have in your risk mitigation toolbox in our opinion, and the police want these letters so they can help you with your local issues.
Here is an example of the required letter:
TO: Chief of Police, Local Jurisdiction Dear Chief
RE: AUTHORIZATION TO ACT PURSUANT TO THE TRESPASS TO PROPERTY ACT (RSO)
On behalf of the community and the property owners, please accept our thanks and appreciation for all the hard work that you and your officers do each and every day to make our community a better place to be.
Please allow this letter to serve as formal notice and authorization that all police officers employed by the Toronto Police Service may act on our behalf for the purposes of enforcing the Trespass to Property Act (RSO) while on our property. This letter and authorization have no expiration date.
We look forward to working your officers in maintaining the quiet enjoyment of our community, and with the help of your officers, ensure that it is crime and disorder free.
Riskboss often gets questions regarding whether this authorization gives police absolute authority to enter a premise without warrant. This authorization does not provide police blanket powers where judicial authorizations to enter inside suites to conduct a search or an arrest is required by law.