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.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Langford racing enthusiast back in driver’s seat of life after surviving aggressive cancer

70-year-old David Smith finishes mid-pack in Canada 200 race at Western Speedway

New nurse practitioner-led medical clinic welcomes Victoria patients

Health Care on Yates expects to serve 6,800 new patients over the next three years

Central Saanich needs at least more than 500 additional daycare spaces

Report before Central Saanich says region faces a ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

New branch of Royal BC Museum to be built in Colwood

New faclity in the Royal Bay development will house collections, archives and research department

Sooke RCMP searching for two people, reported missing on Sept. 10

Alannah Brooke Logan, 20, and Beau Richard Santuccione, 32, last seen on Otter Point Road

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

POLL: Do you plan on allowing your children to go trick or treating this year?

This popular annual social time will look quite different this year due to COVID-19

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Comox Valley protesters send message over old-growth logging

Event in downtown Courtenay was part of wider event on Friday

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Most Read