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9.12.19 – The Record – Cambridge Times

Police will charge $170 for false alarms they respond to starting next year

Looking to reduce the number of “false alarms” in Waterloo Region, police will adopt a Verified Alarm Response System (VARP) to start the the new year..

The aim, according to police, is to make a significant impact on reducing the number of false alarms that police respond to, increasing the capacity for officers and 911 personnel to respond to emergencies.

In 2018, police received 5,060 alarm calls, but only three per cent were deemed to be legitimate emergencies. In addition, 97 per cent of those calls were cancelled or deemed to be false alarms.

Starting Jan. 1, patrol units will be dispatched when an alarm is verified (proof of criminal activity) through one or more of the following criteria: audio device; video device; multiple zone activations; or an eyewitness on scene.

The alarm monitoring stations will be required to confirm whether a police response is necessary.

“The implementation of the new Verified Alarm Response Program brings us in line with other police services across Ontario, like Hamilton, London and Niagara,” said Chief of Police Bryan Larkin in a media release.

“This program will significantly reduce the number of false alarms that officers attend to every year, and allows our officers to focus on priority calls for service. This will benefit not only WRPS, but all communities across our region.”

Police, however, will not require verification in “holdup, panic or duress alarms.”

There will no longer be registration and annual fees with the new VARP service delivery model. A flat fee of $170 will be applied for false alarms when police are required to attend.

For information on how to avoid false alarms, visit www.wrps.on.ca/en/services-reporting/alarms-faq.aspx.