A spike in the use of bear spray on the streets of Victoria is prompting the Victoria Police Department to remind retailers of their obligations when selling the product.
In the last six months, VicPD officers have seized more than 30 cans of bear spray, a product readily available at outdoor sporting retailers.
“Bear spray is the weapon of choice amongst some of the individuals we deal with every day downtown,” said Staff Sgt. Conor King of the Focused Enforcement Team. “Our officers are routinely encountering people concealing this weapon and we’re pretty sure there are no bears in downtown Victoria.”
The federal Pest Control Products Act restricts the sale of bear spray to customers at least 18 years of age, and requires each customer to sign a purchase agreement.
Police warn the use of bear spray as a weapon can lead to numerous charges including possession of a dangerous weapon, carrying a concealed weapon or varying levels of assault.
“When we’re talking about bear spray, safety starts with the retailer,” King said.