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New Brunswick peace officers to be armed with carbines, tasers: public safety minister – New Brunswick |


New Brunswick public safety minister Kris Austin says the province will begin arming public safety officers with additional equipment as it looks to reduce crime.

Peace officers will receive training with carbines and tasers as part of an increasing amount of integration with other police forces, Austin says. They’ll also begin wearing body cameras.

“This really for me is about breaking down silos and ensuring all hands are on deck, that we have more boots on the ground,” Austin said in an interview.

There are about 150 peace officers in the province who handle enforcement of fish and wildlife laws, commercial and off-road vehicles and, increasingly, contraband such as firearms, illegal cannabis and tobacco and controlled substances.

Peace officers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario are already equipped with carbines. Prince Edward Island is in the process of giving carbines to peace officers.

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According to Austin, the increasing involvement in police operations is why the additional equipment is needed.

“It’s an effort to ensure our officers have the equipment they need to meet the threat in the worst case scenario because the last thing we want is our officers to be in a position where they’re facing a threat and not able to match it,” he said.

The total cost of the new equipment is over $1.3 million, including 115 carbines, along with vehicle modifications and ammunition, 100 tasers and holsters, and 140 body cameras.

Liberal public safety critic Jacques Leblanc says the move comes at a curious time as some rural communities have raised concerns over the effectiveness of the RCMP.

But he has a number of concerns, including the safety of peace officers and if they have the same amount of insurance coverage afforded to police officers.

“This is a knee-jerk reaction from the government trying to cover themselves because they’re getting a lot of pushback from municipalities who say they aren’t getting enough protection,” he said.

Green critic Kevin Arseneau said he doesn’t see how further arming peace officers will address the concerns raised over RCMP coverage of rural areas and wonders if the money might be better spent elsewhere.

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“As I’ve been saying for many years, how do we attack problems that cause criminality at their root cause like mental health and addition problems and that kind of intervention?” he said.

Peace officers are represented by the New Brunswick Union. President Susie Proulx-Daigle was not made available for an interview, but said the union is pleased with the announcement.

“The safety of our members is of the utmost importance,” she said.

“We’re confident these changes, along with the training and testing that come with it, will help in this regard.”

Click to play video: 'N.B. RCMP facing criticism over rural policing'

N.B. RCMP facing criticism over rural policing

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