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Curfew questions

Thu Oct 6, 2005 Miss Vicky 

A reader writes:

Is there a curfew in our fair City?

A work friend's son was recently escorted home by the police. The police told him there is a "law" that kids under 16, unaccompanied by an adult, can not be out in public after 11pm.

What gives?

It seems the officers were being a little over-vigilant - if they brought the young man home between 11 and midnight, that is. There is a provincial curfew, but until the recent flurry of worry post-Jennifer Teague, it was rarely enforced.

Here's what I found on the Ottawa Police website:

Curfew Provisions for Youths Under 16 Years Being Enforced

Patrol and District officers in West Division have recently been encouraged to place more emphasis on enforcing the curfew provisions of the Child and Family Services Act. Under this act, no parent of a child less than 16 years of age shall permit the child to loiter in a public place between midnight and 6 a.m. Therefore officers will use this as one of their enforcement tools in order to encourage more parental responsibility. Officers have been directed to issue warnings and charges to parents who breach this section of the act. It is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine

They include an excerpt from the relevant legislation, the Child and Family Services Act:

Police may take child home or to place of safety

79(6) Where a child who is actually or apparently less than sixteen years of age is in a place to which the public has access between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. and is not accompanied by a person described in clause (5) (b), a peace officer may apprehend the child without a warrant and proceed as if the child had been apprehended under subsection 42 (1).

Personally, I'd rather see police resources devoted to dealing with criminal behaviour at that time of night, rather than scanning the streets for youths hanging around the 7-11 after curfew. If kids are being disruptive, then perhaps a curfew gives the police a good reason to get them home.... but I am sure there are other things our officers would rather be doing.

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