Saskatchewan Joins Media Country-wide in Losing Access to Police Scanners

Scanners like these can be used to listen to broadcasts between emergency dispatchers and police responding to incidents. Now, police services in Saskatchewan are deprogramming them, saying it will protect personal information. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

The police services in Regina and Saskatoon are following others in the country by cutting the media off from police radio scanner channels.

In the past, the media had access to what was called Police One, a police scanner that allowed journalists to hear what is happening on the secure police channel in a timely manner, to relay information to the public.

On Jan. 1, 2018,  all municipal police services in the province became subject to The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

This change follows a trend across Canada, with Saskatchewan and P.E.I. being the last provinces to include police forces.

As a result, the police have indicated that they will take away the media’s access to Police One.

In a letter to CBC Saskatchewan, Regina Police Chief Evan Bray said providing access to police radio systems means engaging in an “unauthorized disclosure of personal information.”

Bray spoke about the decision on CBC Radio’s The Morning Edition, saying he found the scanners helpful, but that they are not compliant with the legislation.

He used a hypothetical call to his own home as an example.

“We’re being dispatched to Evan Bray’s house for a unwanted guest. Evan’s ex-wife is at the door. She’s, you know, causing problems, whatever,” Bray told The Morning Edition. “They give names, sometimes they will talk about whether they’re intoxicated or not, whether people have mental health issues, if they’re wanted, what they’re wanted for.

“That’s a lot of information. We wouldn’t just give those sheets out.”

Regina scanner equipment to be deprogrammed by Aug. 6

The Regina Police Service (RPS) sent out letters to four media organizations saying it’s terminating the current Radio System Access Agreement and asking all stations to bring their radio scanner equipment to the police station to be deprogrammed by Aug. 6.



  1. The public don’t trust the mainstream media to report stories honestly, and now the police don’t either. They know that the news will be skewed left and against law enforcement no matter what the circumstances. I’ve noticed that CNN isn’t in all the airports anymore. I guess their contracts to pay to be shown ran out and even the airports don’t want to be associated with them. Just got back from a Northern European cruise. No CNN on the ship – FOX News instead!

  2. “privacy” regulations are used by governmental agencies to hide information from the public. Ironically the Police Chief’s example is exactly why the media should have access. If Joe Blow was having a domestic disturbance it isn’t news but if it’s happening at the Police Chief’s house it is.

  3. The police in North America need to be monitored
    by media. The RCMP for one are making headlines
    everyday for assault, sexual misconduct and a host
    of other serious crimes. Democracy works with an
    informed public.

  4. So now “news” outlets have another excuse to not cover live events. Judging from the lazy Edmonton media, they never did anyway. Am I the only one to notice that absolutely nothing happens between 6pm Friday night and 2pm Sunday afternoon? “Suddenly” on the Sunday 2pm news all kinds of fires, shootings, stabbings, medical emergencies start getting reported. Why? Well, the police, fire and medical released their press statements. “Suddenly”, there’s news. Now, we’re finding out that they may have had access to police scanners all along? Shameful.

  5. For those who didn’t get the memo, there is currently a viral online trend right now called FaceApp. Everyone is posting an aged picture of themselves from an app that first went viral in 2017. Not new, but for some reason has hit #1 of viral trends recently. So everyday we hear about russian hackers, yet the minions have no problem exposing their social media account to a russian developed app that you have to give full permission to have access to your smartphone. Brilliant!

    What is my point. There is no privacy. If you use the internet and engage in social media, and use a smartphone there is no such thing as privacy. The government can’t do jack about that because everyone is a technical idiot that expects privacy but does every thing to give it away to the latest fad. You realize nothing is free, you get an aged enhanced photo and someone gets access to your social media account or device. Data is worth billions. That data could be used to geo target an ad to you or it could be used to steal intellectual property and go as far as slowly take over the world.

    For a number of years now our federal government has been on a mission of ensuring privacy. The intent was maybe in a digital world to create a legal framework so someone is held responsible if personal information, such as health records were obtained through dubious means.

    For over a decade it is a mission of the government in Canada to protect privacy. Each year the screw gets tightened just a little more. Now I’m no lawyer, but it seems on the surface this law has become so restrictive and so powerful that the police are afraid that they may cross the line. The question is why and to what end?

    In a digital world cutting off a newsroom from a scanner report that is used to generate a story lead is protecting nobody’s privacy. That one cop had a great example using a fictitious story about himself that he was blowing out his ass. Using that logic doesn’t explain how I could stand on the street in front of his house and record a video of the fictitious domestic assault, upload it or stream it live and have it viewed by people all over the planet. It would go viral, it would get more coverage than your local media and would not violate the privacy act.

  6. comment from our friend Terry Bell

    Unlike our flatland friends in Sask. We BC-ers lost access to VPD and other radio frequencies years ago. The standard scanners were outlawed initially and then the various PD’s switched to digital systems and we were basically screwed. Purchase of the receivers was prohibited in BC and we couldn’t (or didn’t) buy them south of the border because, technically, we weren’t allowed to bring them into Canada. At least that’s what I was told by station engineers and old time newsies.

    Personally, I was never a fan of using scanners to get stories. I preferred calling contacts at various PD’s and getting them on tape. That way I knew I had confirmation of the story details. Most of my insiders were good about giving me what they could in a timely fashion.

    Terry Bell


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