The Waterloo Regional Police Services Board has a Fees and Charges By-law (By-Law 04-01) which sets out the fees and circumstances when a false alarm charge is payable (see Schedule “B” of Alarms Bylaw – Fees and Charges for Alarm Services).
Alarm Businesses may pay an annual fee to register every premises where they have an installed Alarm System that they monitor (directly or indirectly). When an alarm is activated, the Alarm Business must first attempt to remotely ascertain whether the alarm is false (e.g., homeowner error, malfunction, etc.). When the Alarm Business is unable to confirm such, they contact the Police for response to, what they believe to be, a legitimate purpose – that is, as a result of a criminal act or attempt or an emergency situation related to the premises.
If, when the Police arrive at the premises they determine that there is no emergency or evidence of criminal activity at the premises where the alarm system is installed (including the activating or testing of an alarm without notification and alarms triggered by natural causes or conditions), the alarm is classified as a “False Alarm”.
The Alarm Business (not the alarm customer) is charged a false alarm fee in accordance with the Fees and Charges By-law. Often, the Alarm Business will bill the alarm customer for the charge.
If the Alarm Business or the alarm customer wishes to have the Police reconsider the classification of the alarm call as a “False Alarm” (e.g., there was evidence of criminal activity or an emergency), an appeal must be submitted through the Alarm Business in compliance with this process.
REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION
The Alarm Business may, within forty-five (45) calendar days of receipt of the “Notice to the Alarm Business” regarding the False Alarm, request in writing the Alarm Coordinator to reconsider the alarm classification. The date of receipt of the notice is deemed to be 5 business days from the date of mailing.
The written request must include the following:
- the police report file number in relation to the suspected criminal incident;
- the full address of the premises;
- the assigned premises ID number;
- premises name (if applicable);
- the name of the Alarm Business;
- date and time of the (alleged) False Alarm, if known;
- requester’s name, address and telephone number where they can be contacted during regular business hours; and
- grounds for the reconsideration and any documents in support of such (e.g., Notice to Alarm Business, print outs or information from the Alarm Business regarding all actions taken, subsequent investigations by police, etc.)
The requester should keep a copy of all documents and information submitted.
Subject to any necessary request for additional information, a Request for Reconsideration decision letter will be provided by the Police Service’s Alarm Coordinator to the Alarm Business, if applicable, within twenty (20) calendar days of receipt of the Request. If the Reconsideration is allowed, the Alarm Coordinator will reverse the False Alarm fee charge and reduce the False Alarm Count for the premises by one.
If an applicant disagrees with the Request for Reconsideration decision, they may appeal, in writing, within twenty-five (25) calendar days of the date of the decision letter.
The appeal letter must state why the Waterloo Regional Police Service should reconsider its decision and be accompanied by a $30 appeal fee, payable by cash or certified cheque (refundable upon successful appeal).
The appellant must submit (to the address set out below) the following package as part of their appeal: (i) an appeal letter setting out the grounds for appeal; (ii) the fee; (iii) a copy of the Request for Reconsideration decision letter along with any documents sent in with the request; and (iv) any additional information to support the appeal.
Attention: Records Manager
Waterloo Regional Police Service
P.O. Box 3070
200 Maple Grove Road
Cambridge, Ontario N3H 5M1
Within 60 calendar days of receipt of an appeal notification, the Waterloo Regional Police Service will convene the False Alarm Appeal Panel (consisting of, at least two members; one of which must be a uniform Commander from Support Services) to consider the appeal.
After the decision of the Appeal Panel is made, a letter will be sent to the Alarm Business, if applicable, advising of the final decision. If the appeal is allowed, the Alarm Coordinator will be instructed to reverse the False Alarm fee charge and reduce the False Alarm Count for the premises by one. The appeal fee will be refunded in full.
Pending final determination of the appeal, any non-registration of the Alarm Business for non-payment regarding the matter under appeal (pursuant to section 2(1) of the Fees and Charges By-law) will be held in abeyance.
EXTENSION OF TIMELINES
If, in extenuating circumstances, the Waterloo Regional Police Service can not meet the timelines indicated in this process, the applicant will be notified of the applicable extensions.