Police will be cracking down on liquor-related offences Friday Canada Day) to ensure a good time is had by all – and everyone makes it home safe.
A contingent of 200-plus officers from Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay and Central Saanich will be roaming the downtown core, while Saanich police and the Integrated Road Safety Unit will have roadblocks set up exiting the city.
Saanich has tripled the number of its on-duty officers for a Friday night to ensure alcohol doesn’t fuel problems for revellers.
“We want everybody in our community to have a good time but we will not tolerate any drunken rowdy behaviour,” Sgt. Dean Jantzen said.
Officers will be monitoring liquor sales outlets, conducting roadblocks starting early in the night and co-ordinating with B.C. Transit to intercept drunken riders before they get downtown.
VicPD Chief Jamie Graham said people busted with open liquor, or found to be drunk in public will be ticketed.
Although it’s up to individual officers whether to ticket someone caught breaking liquor laws, VicPD is “going to do our very best to remove that discretion,” Graham said. “If you have open liquor, you’re going to get a fine.”
The fine for consuming or being in possession of open liquor is $200, plus officers could slap another $150 fine on partiers who are drunk in public.
More than 100 B.C. Transit employees will be on the roads and on standby Friday. Two years ago, the bus company transported 61,500 riders on July 1, said B.C. Transit spokesperson Joanna Linsangan.
“All hands are on deck that night,” she said.
The transit company’s Friday late-night bus service, which it implemented last September, is expected to make a difference in getting more people home following the Canada Day fireworks.
“We think it will be beneficial especially for those wanting to stay later,” said Linsangan.
Late-night service will be available until 1:30 a.m. on the No. 4 University of Victoria bus, the No. 6 Esquimalt-Royal Oak and the No. 14 UVic-Victoria General bus.
– with files from Erin Cardone