Law enforcement officers and Nova Scotians will benefit from changes the government is introducing to make communities safer.
The Body Armour Control Act, introduced today, Sept. 14, will regulate the possession of body armour in Nova Scotia.
The act will restrict the possession and sale of such equipment to police officers, sheriffs, corrections officers, special constables, conservation officers, bylaw enforcement officers, security guards, paramedics and others who legitimately require it due to the nature of their employment.
“This is about protecting police, other law enforcement officers and Nova Scotians”, said Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mark Furey. “Police have told us the use of body armour by criminals is a concern. Those possessing it often engage in violent activities, placing our officers and our citizens in harms way.”
The legislation creates offences and provides authority to seize body armour from anyone not authorized to possess it.
The legislation also includes:
— authority for peace officers to search for and seize body armour that is unlawfully possessed
— authority for peace officers to lay charges for the unauthorized possession of body armour and to allow a person to forfeit their body armour without being charged
— provisions allowing the creation of temporary permits and the addition of other exempted groups, to be added by regulation
“This is an extremely important piece of legislation for law enforcement in our province,” said Peter McIsaac, chief with the Cape Breton Regional Police. “We know that body armour is being used to advance criminal activity. Controlling its use – keeping it out of the hands it’s not intended for, and in the hands of those it’s meant to protect – will improve the safety of both first responders and the public.”
The proposed legislation is similar to laws in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba. There will be time in advance of the act coming into effect for those who currently possess body armour but who do not belong to one of the exempt groups, to turn it over to local police or the RCMP.