B.C. Transit seeks to boost security powers

Supervisors could fine transit offenders under proposed plan

B.C. Transit’s Bill Shearer

B.C. Transit is looking to add special constables to its security ranks in the Capital Region.

Transit supervisors may also one day have the authority to issue tickets for transit offences.

When transit-related offences – from spitting and other assaults to verbal threats and property damage – are heard in the courts, it’s often the first time Stephen Anderson, B.C. Transit’s senior manager of corporate safety and security for the province, learns the details of Crown counsel’s case and the police investigation.

But as special provincial constables, Anderson and his three-member security team would be able to access police files on transit crimes, provide additional evidence and help build strong cases for stiffer punishments.

B.C. Transit plans to submit its application for special constable powers to Solicitor General Shirley Bond in late November.

“We give files (to police), but we also want to see their files and see what they’re doing,” Anderson said, adding that having a badge would allow special constables to walk into a police station and request police documents.

“There may be an incident that happened out there today, that happened at a bus stop or an exchange (that might only be reported to police but) that we might know nothing about.”

Special constables could help link transit crimes such as graffiti vandalism, which would otherwise be treated as isolated incidents “and it’s all forgotten,” Anderson said.

“But we’re still left with cleaning, putting all the time, resources, money into doing that and not had a chance to present that as part of the package,” Anderson said, adding their enhanced abilities would allow the team to be more proactive in addressing problem cases and repeat offenders.

“We can then do what is necessary to ensure that one occurrence doesn’t become many occurrences,” Anderson said.

The peace officers would be able to enforce the Criminal Code of Canada, but would not spend their time patrolling transit routes in the province.

“We (would be) more investigators than routine patrollers,” said Anderson, who was a municipal police officer in England for 15 years, and a transit cop for 11 years for the London Underground.

If the team receives its badges, two more security staff members may be hired, possibly in 2012 or 2013.

To further boost his security team’s powers, Anderson plans in 2012 to ask Blair Lekstrom, B.C.’s minister of transportation and infrastructure, for a legislative change to the B.C. Transit Act, granting transit supervisors in the Capital Region the authority to issue 40 transit fines.

That power might discourage more riders from engaging in offensive or aggressive behaviour, said Bill Shearer, B.C. Transit’s chief transit supervisor. Fines range from $58 to $173.

That power would also free up police from having to respond to hundreds of calls each year for minor infractions, Anderson said, adding police alone currently have the ability to levy transit fines.

“We would be able to deal with smaller incidents at the time and (prevent) those smaller incidents from (escalating) to anything more, and then to avoid the court or policing processes because it stays within B.C. Transit,” Anderson said. “We don’t want to abuse our relationship (with police).”

What do you think? Give us your comments by email: editor@vicnews.com. All letters must have a name and a telephone number for verification.

 

 

Just Posted

UPDATED: Man arrested on Richmond Avenue after standoff with police following ‘serious assault’

Police were called early Sunday morning following an assault in the building

Victoria harpist releases ‘old school’ jazz album, makes singing debut

Musician ‘blown away’ by reactions to her seventh album Songs From the Harp

WestShore Skatepark Coalition faces uphill battle as costs jump $166,000

‘It feels like a David and Goliath situation,’ says coalition member

Victoria’s Christmas bird count set to take flight

More volunteers needed on the West Shore for Dec. 14 count

Trees topped, greenery snatched from Saanich park

‘If everyone took one thing, there’d be nothing left,’ says president of park society

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Most Read