Sergeant-at-Arms Made Peace Officer for Province House
To help ensure the continued safety and security of those who work in or visit the provincial legislature, the sergeant-at-arms at Province House, will be made a peace officer.
Attorney General and Justice Minister Mark Furey tabled changes to the House of Assembly Act today, Feb. 27, which give the sergeant-at-arms the powers, authority, privileges, rights and immunities of a peace officer under common law, the Criminal Code, and other federal and provincial legislation.
The sergeant-at-arms is responsible for safety and security at the Nova Scotia Legislature. With this change, the speaker of the house can permit the sergeant-at-arms to carry a firearm and other equipment used by police, if required. The type of firearm or other weapons must be those approved for use in Nova Scotia by police officers.
“Those who work and visit the Nova Scotia Legislature can be assured that safety and security at Province House is a priority,” said Mr. Furey. “Province House represents one of the key cornerstones of our province’s democratic values and processes. These changes simply ensure that the requirements of the sergeant-at-arms job are included in the legislation. This will provide clarity and set out – in law - the required authorities and powers of the position. This is a proactive, best practice which helps ensure our democracy continues to be protected.”
The changes also include:
- requiring the sergeant-at-arms to have the same training and certifications that police officers must have in Nova Scotia to possess and use a firearm, and other equipment
- permitting the sergeant-at-arms to pursue persons that leave the premises, when appropriate and required
- giving the speaker the authority to appoint the sergeant-at-arms and the governor-in-council the authority to determine the salary. Currently the salary is set in legislation
- the current sergeant-at-arms is David Fraser. He was appointed on Jan. 1, 2016 and is a retired member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- the current sergeant-at-arms was made a special constable in 2016 when he was hired
- a peace officer is defined under the Criminal Code of Canada and includes police officers, sheriffs, custom officers, corrections officers, pilots, bailiffs and military personnel
- a special constable is a type of peace officer and is an appointment made under the Nova Scotia Police Act. Their duties are determined by the minister of Justice or by a chief of police. Examples of special constables include wildlife officers and municipal parking enforcement officers