August 15, 2016 / 7:57 PM / 4 years ago

Canada will not reopen bomb analysis center closed in April

TORONTO (Reuters) - The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said on Monday it will not reopen its bomb analysis center that was closed in April, rejecting a call to do so from a national law enforcement advocacy group that warned of a growing “threat of terrorism.”

The Canadian Association of Police Governance passed a resolution in favor of the bomb center, which analyzed bomb data and how to handle explosives, on Sunday at its annual general meeting.

The resolution was passed less than a week after an alleged Islamic State supporter detonated an explosive device and was killed in a police raid in Strathroy, a town in southwestern Ontario.

Harold Pfleiderer, a spokesman for the RCMP, which ran the Canadian Bomb Data Centre (CBDC), called it a “small program” and said an external panel deemed it to be of low importance compared with other police operations.

“As stewards of public funds, we routinely review our programs to measure their effectiveness and value-for-money in keeping Canadians safe,” Pfleiderer said in an email.

The center also provided assistance and coordination to police forces dealing with bombs and explosives, according to the RCMP.

Sunday’s resolution argued that the center’s responsibilities now fall to individual police forces, which do not have the same level of coordination and expertise.

Pfleiderer said the explosive disposal community in Canada is small and its members maintain regular contact.

“Some of the core services formerly provided by the CBDC will be absorbed into other areas of the RCMP,” he added.

Terrorism offences in Canada more than doubled last year to 173 alleged incidents, up from 76 in 2014, according to July data from Statistics Canada, citing police information.

In October 2014, a Canadian Muslim convert shot and killed a soldier at Ottawa’s national war memorial before launching an attack on the Canadian Parliament. The same week, another convert ran down two soldiers in Quebec, killing one.

Reporting by Ethan Lou; Editing by Alan Crosby

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