Canadian Security Magazine

Quebec to spend $31 million to boost security at courthouses after violent incidents

By Canadian Security Staff   

News

By Sébastien Auger

The Quebec government is pledging $31 million to add security checkpoints and more special constables to the province’s courthouses after recent violent incidents that raised safety concerns.

Justice Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette and Public Security Minister François Bonnardel made the announcement Monday in Longueuil, where an interpreter was seriously injured in a courthouse knife attack earlier this year.

Part of the funding will allow walk-through metal detectors to be added at nine courthouses by fall 2025, including in Longueuil, Laval and Quebec City.

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The bulk of the funding — $23.4 million — will go toward training and hiring more special constables, who are responsible for ensuring security in courthouses.

A number of groups representing Quebec justice system workers have been lobbying the government to increase security at courts after the Jan. 9 Longueuil knife attack.

Suspect Alexandre Garces faces a number of charges, including attempted murder, assault with a weapon, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon in connection with the attack on Hai Thach, 68. Police said the alleged assailant didn’t know the victim.

Jolin-Barrette on Monday described the attack, as well as a more recent assault of a youth protection worker at the courthouse in Sherbrooke, as isolated. He told reporters courthouses are safe, and that the number of violent incidents in them declined by 40 per cent between 2018 and 2023.

But he said it’s important to make people feel safe. “This is why, in recent months, we have accelerated the work underway to modernize security equipment in courthouses,” he said, adding that Monday’s announcement was “only the beginning.”

As of earlier this year, only certain Montreal-area courthouses had airport-style security in place with metal detectors and X-ray equipment.

New courts that are under construction, such as those in St-Hyacinthe, Roberval and Rouyn-Noranda, are also being equipped with metal detectors, the government indicated.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2024.


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