STM inspectors to have power to make arrests with new special constable status
MONTREAL -- STM inspectors will become special constables this summer, meaning their newly acquired powers will give them the ability to make arrests instead of waiting for police to show up.
But some are concerned the inspectors will have too much power and not enough training.
Beginning in July, they will have the ability to not only issue tickets, but also have vehicles towed and arrest people suspected of criminal activity on STM property.
The changes are needed to ensure customers are safe and to give inspectors the power to do something about illegally parked vehicles in reserved lanes, according to the STM executive director Marie-Claude Leonard.
“With the new status, they'll be able to issue tickets and tow the vehicle to get a free line … to be sure the service will be on time,” she told CTV News.
But some are concerned the powers will go too far and training for things like prventing racial profiling will be overlooked. Coun. Marvin Rotrand said Thursday he believes STM inspectors already have too much power.
“I see it as militarization and I expect a lot of community groups, from especially racialized communities, won't consider this good news,” he said.
When it comes to weapons, the STM said inspectors will continue to carry telescopic batons and will not get any new equipment, but Rotrand suspects it won't be long before that changes.
“The STM says we won't give them guns but the door’s been open,” he said.
“As soon as they become special constables, at some point some administration in the city can decide they carry guns.”
The transition will include four days of training, which the STM said will happen gradually. Once this happens, inspectors will then be subject to the Police Act, which means the police ethics commission and Quebec’s independent police watchdog can take over investigations when required.