Changes Proposed to How Police Find Missing Persons in Mississauga
When a person goes missing in Mississauga, police need all the help they can get to make sure they are found safe and sound. Now, the provincial government is looking to help.
On July 1 the government introduced The Missing Persons Act.
The province says the act gives police officers three additional tools to use when there is no evidence a crime has been committed.
According to the province, these tools allow police to:
- Obtain copies of records that may assist in a search
- Obtain a search warrant to enter premises to locate a missing person
- Make an urgent demand for certain documents without a court order
“Police and family members tell us that the first hours after someone goes missing are the most critical,” said Sylvia Jones, the Solicitor General. “That’s why we’re providing our frontline heroes with more tools to quickly find our loved ones.”
The act sets out tests to obtain court authorization for access to records or search warrants, and to execute urgent demands for documents. It also requires police and the courts to consider privacy issues and whether there is evidence that the missing person does not wish to be located.
The act also states guidelines on what information police may disclose about a missing person before and after they have been located.
Prior to this, when someone went missing without evidence of criminal activity, police were reportedly more limited in the ways they could investigate. This act now allows police to respond to missing person investigations quickly while addressing concerns for an individual’s privacy.
To make sure these new tools will be used responsibly, police chiefs and the OPP commissioner must report annually on the use of urgent demands for records by members of the police service.
A mandated five-year review of the act is also required.
What do you think of these new tools police can use?