RCMP files recently obtained through Access To Information prove that moving the RCMP Operations Communications Center (OCC) from Truro to Halifax could leave emergency communications in Nova Scotia vulnerable, says Bill Casey,. MP for Cumberland Colchester.
Although the documents were significantly “redacted” and missing complete pages, this 2004 study strongly opposes concentrating all RCMP communications in Halifax. Such a move would also place the OCC in the same building as RCMP command headquarters. In the event of a disaster in HRM, all RCMP, ambulance, fire and paramedic emergency communications throughout Nova Scotia would be disabled along with RCMP command operations.
Specifically, this RCMP report makes several recommendations.These quotes from the report state a clear message.
– “It is not recommended that the two largest police communications operations in Nova Scotia be placed within the same metropolitan area.”
– “Recommendation No. 3: That the RCMP not locate their primary OCC within the Halifax Regional Municipality”
– “System Redundancy – ability through technology, facilities, and/or partner agreements to continuously deliver service even if primary OCC service delivery site were lost.”
– “Primary service delivery site be outside of HRM due to risks of placing 2 largest police communications centers in close proximity to each other”.
The only way these recommendations can be met is to have communications facilities in two different communities. Casey will be pressing the RCMP to comply with their own recommended and approved standards which identity Truro as the best location for the RCMP OCC.
Casey said “This is about public safety and the ability of our emergency services to successfully react to disasters. Communications during any disaster has proven to be the determining factor in saving lives and protecting the public.To go against the RCMP approved standards would severely restrict our communications systems in Nova Scotia and create considerable risk to the public.”
Casey will again be requesting the Office of the Information Commissioner for a complete and un-redacted copy of the report. Casey will also meet with the Hon Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to express his concerns.