© THE GUARDIAN/Nigel Armstrong
A paramedic is seen talking to a police officer in a vehicle outside an incident Tuesday in the Sherwood Shopping Centre. A man inside the building was threatening harm to himself if his demands concerning social assistance were not met.
Staff at a Charlottetown social assistance office were never in danger during a standoff involving a client and police Tuesday night, says Family and Human Services Minister Tina Mundy.
Although Mundy said she couldn’t comment on specifics of the incident, she did say staff called the police.
“Because of their actions it ended very safely and no one was harmed,” she said.
Tuesday night, a police crisis negotiation team spent five hours at the social assistance office in the Sherwood Business Centre after a man with a small knife threatened to harm himself.
A Charlottetown police spokesman said the man wasn’t happy with the services he was receiving, but didn’t threaten staff.
It wasn’t the first incident involving police at the social assistance office. In June, a woman smashed windows in the building with a hammer after meeting with her social services worker.
Mundy said since the June incident several policies and procedures were reviewed, staff were trained and they were prepared for what happened Tuesday night.
“They executed the policies and procedures exactly as they should have,” she said.
As for what changes were made since the June incident, Mundy said she couldn’t talk about them because it could put staff at risk.
“I’m not comfortable commenting on it because I would never, ever want to do anything that would put the staff in jeopardy,” she said.
Mundy said it was an unfortunate incident and staff members were prepared.
“I do encourage any of our clients who are having issues or are having obstacles to discuss it with their case worker and try to problem solve and work through it and seek professional help if necessary.”
As happened after the June incident, the department will do another review of its safety and security policies, Mundy said.
“We will take this incident and use it again as a learning opportunity.”