August 17, 2017

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Police forced to release photo radar locations

A mobile photo-radar unit is seen in a school zone. The vehicle can capture violations by vehicles travelling in both directions; the operator uses a hand-held device to capture traffic coming from the rear. (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p>

A mobile photo-radar unit is seen in a school zone. The vehicle can capture violations by vehicles travelling in both directions; the operator uses a hand-held device to capture traffic coming from the rear. (Joe Bryksa / Winnipeg Free Press files)

An investigation by the Manitoba Ombudsman’s office has resulted in the disclosure of photo radar locations across the city by the Winnipeg Police Service.

The WPS had initially refused to release the information through a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) request, which prompted the Ombudsman’s investigation and a report made public Monday.

"This case highlights the complex nature of some of our investigations and the steps taken to ensure that all relevant factors are considered in the course of making findings about whether a public body’s access decision complies with the requirements of FIPPA," Ombudsman Charlene Paquin said in a statement released Monday. "I want to acknowledge the responsiveness of the WPS to our efforts to carefully and thoroughly address the issues raised in this case."

The Ombudsman’s office did not disclose the identity of the individual who made the complaint, but the person's formal request to the WPS and subsequent complaint were released by the Ombudsman.

The photo radar locations have since been released and are available at wfp.to/photoradarlocations.

The WPS initially claimed it didn’t have access to the information, and then claimed that releasing the locations could "reasonably be expected to endanger" the life of the photo radar technicians.

The Ombudsman challenged both objections raised by the police service, which eventually agreed to release the locations.

The Ombudsman’s office states that since 2011, all recommendations made by the ombudsman about complaints under FIPPA are posted on the ombudsman’s website, in accordance with requirements under the act.

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