12/03/2012 01:45 EST | Updated 02/02/2013 05:12 EST

Cops could access text messages of missing people in Nova Scotia under new law

HALIFAX - Police in Nova Scotia would be able to apply to a judge to access personal information such as text messages and banking records in their searches for missing people under legislation introduced today.

Currently, police can only access this information if they believe a crime has been committed.

Under the Missing Persons Act, judges and justices of the peace would decide whether police can have access to personal information during a process similar to a search warrant application.

Justice Minister Ross Landry says the legislation would also allow police to seek access to a building if they believe a vulnerable missing person or missing youth is inside.

The legislation defines a missing person as someone whose safety is in question.

Last year, the RCMP and Halifax police fielded about 1,400 missing persons reports.