Halifax Regional Police will hold Voluntary Surrender on Saturday, April 29, at the Dartmouth North Community Centre, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. This inaugural event will enable people with outstanding warrants for non-violent offences to resolve the warrants voluntarily in a neutral environment, avoiding arrest at home, in front of their family and children, at work or during a traffic stop.
People who attend Voluntary Surrender will have their warrants resolved, which means police will no longer be looking to arrest them, and the warrant will be replaced with a court date. Voluntary Surrender is not an amnesty program; participants will need to appear before the court at a later date to answer to pending charges.
HRP’s goal is to reduce the number of outstanding warrants in our area by providing a more appealing opportunity for people to surrender voluntarily. There are 684 outstanding warrants on file with HRP.
At Voluntary Surrender, a booking area will be set up so that officers can process warrants. Participants will be asked to present ID and will have their fingerprints and a photo taken. In most cases, they will then receive a new court date. Participants will have the opportunity to contact Legal Aid, which will be available for telephone consultation. Also, referral information for various community services and supports will be available on-site.
Voluntary Surrender is tailored to people with warrants for non-violent offences, but individuals with an outstanding warrant(s) for any type of offence may participate. Unlike those with warrants for non-violent offences, however, individuals with warrants for violent offences will likely be taken into custody.
While Voluntary Surrender is a first-time initiative for HRP and a first of its kind in Canada, similar initiatives have been successful in the United States.