A proposal to further enhance some security measures at Toronto City Hall is raising concerns this week among councillors who don’t like the idea of “patron screening.”
The debate over how much security is too much security surfaced earlier this month with the release of a (mostly confidential) report from the Deputy City Manager of Internal Corporate Services.
“This report proposes changes to the current ‘Enhanced’ level of security at Toronto City Hall,” reads the document. “These proposals are based upon assessments from the Toronto Police Service and Public Safety Canada, best practices, and benchmarking.”
Several key recommendations listed in the report pertain to physical security measures that would, hopefully, provide “a reasonable level of protection from foreseeable threats.”
City staff recommend enhanced security measures at Toronto City Hall, including patron screening (likely metal detectors) and barriers in meeting rooms. https://t.co/r5cVnAU5Ia pic.twitter.com/ar2mkYchlC
— Matt Elliott (@GraphicMatt) November 21, 2017
We don’t know exactly what any of these measures would look like for sure, as the details are all described in confidential attachments – except for recommendation number one, which asks Council to “approve the use of patron screening” at Toronto City Hall.
“Patron Screening involves the use of walk through metal detectors (WTMD’s), hand-held metal detectors (HHMD’s), and physical baggage checks by persons, x-ray machines, or both,” reads a description of the practice in the original report. “Screening Policy and Procedures will be developed to provide appropriate regulations for security screening.”
Councillor Gord Perks takes up issue with the idea of screening members of the public before they enter City Hall.
“They’re not patrons, they’re citizens and this is their palace,” he told The Star on Tuesday. “The accessibility of city hall should be the same as the accessibility of the sidewalk.”
“If our society has too many weapons in it to make this place safe, then we need to deal with that problem,” he continued. “Not make it difficult for an ordinary citizen to come in and watch their civic government in action.”
Councillor Paula Fletcher agreed, vowing to fight against any measures that would accessing City Hall more difficult for citizens.