SHOULD U.S. POLICE HAVE MORE POWERS TO MAKE ARRESTS ON CANADIAN SOIL?|
Posted On: July 12th, 2012
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Certain armed police officers from the U.S. can now cross the border into Canada to make arrests under The Integrated Cross Border Law Enforcement Operations Act.
Currently only small boat crews made up of Canadian and U.S. officers, who are specially designated and trained for cross-border policing, can go back and forth across the maritime borders.
"If a person on a boat is suspected of committing a serious offence and now are trying to get away and they hit shore, [U.S. officers] are allowed to go on shore and pursue in those circumstances," said RCMP Supt. Warren Coons, director of the Integrated Border Enforcement Teams.
The initial phase was included in the controversial omnibus budget bill last month. Supporters say the change was necessary to prevent suspected drug traffickers and smugglers from evading arrest.
The government is now working out the next phase of the plan, a land-based version of integrated policing.
So far, the government has revealed few details, but officials say consultations are continuing and pilot projects could start in the fall.
Critics are alarmed, arguing that the deal jeopardizes Canadian sovereignty and potentially compromises the personal privacy of individual Canadians.
Stuart Trew, a spokesman for the Council of Canadians, said the act in its current form is already a "pretty serious compromise of sovereignty when it comes to policing and security."
"Are we just going to expect down the road when they do expand this program ... [that] it just becomes normal to expect armed American agents on Canadian territory?" Trew said.
"How do you define a border operation? How far inland does it go? These are things that need to be dealt with in an open way. Instead they seem to be negotiating through mostly closed-door talks with U.S. officials."
How do you feel about cross-border policing? Are you comfortable with the first, mainly water-based phase of the plan?
What concerns, if any, do you have about a land-based extension?