Belleville police, city council look to improve response efficiency with new program

Belleville Police Service – Photo by Hollie Pratt-Campbell/Hometownist

Belleville City Council has approved the preparation of a by-law to implement a verified alarm response program to reduce unnecessary calls and improve the efficiency of the Belleville Police Services (BPS).

The decision was made during a May 27, 2024, council meeting following a request from the BPS Board.

During the meeting, Councillor Tyler Allsopp highlighted the importance of the initiative, noting the significant impact false alarms have on police resources.

“We’ve all heard that call volume has been going through the roof. Three per cent of calls come from alarms, and 81 per cent of those calls are effectively false alarms,” Allsopp said.

“Anyone around the table who has ever been involved in small or mid-sized businesses has probably had a situation where a sparrow or a breeze has triggered a sensor. Police get called, and two officers attend, tying up a lot of time and resources. So, I very much hope for your support on this,” Allysopp declared.

With the implementation of the Verified Alarm Response Program, “It will put the onus on alarm companies and business owners to upgrade their systems to properly verify if there is criminal activity before we send people,” as Allysopp explained.

The director of corporate services prepared a proposal to the council that aligns with the strategic plan for community health, safety and security. It also emphasizes the importance of prevention and preparedness in emergency response.

The verified alarm response model requires alarm companies to verify alarms before contacting the BPS. This can be done by using one or more of the following methods: an audio sensor confirming criminal activity, a video system confirming criminal activity, a confirmation from the owner, keyholder, or a witness on the scene, or multiple activation points indicating suspected criminal activity.

In cases of panic, hold-up, and duress alarms where there is reason to believe a crime is in progress or an emergency exists, immediate response from BPS will continue.

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