Public drunkenness leading cause for Canada Day arrests

Police say 85 people taken to cells, no major incidents on Victoria’s busiest day of the year

It was Victoria Police Department’s busiest 12-hour time span ever.

Between 6 p.m. July 1 and 6 a.m. July 2, police had 264 calls for service, which include responding to public drunkenness, mischief, fights, parties and other incidents.

“I think it was our busiest night ever,” said Const. Mike Russell, VicPD’s spokesman.

A normal night generates about 150 calls in to the police department and Canada Day is traditionally the busiest night of the year for police.

Police from Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay and Central Saanich departments, RCMP, legislative security officers and 30 reserve constables took to the streets at 3 p.m. as the crowd swelled to 35,000.

Eighty people were arrested for public intoxication on Canada Day and police issued hundreds of tickets for drinking in public – one officer filled two booklets of 50 tickets each in a shift, all for public consumption, worth $200.

“The combination of Canada Day falling on a Friday and proactive work by officers identifying problematic individuals early in the night, led to the high call volume,” Russell said.

Among the night’s incidents was a man caught urinating on VicPD’s headquarters at 10 p.m. Officers spotted him from the second floor and when he challenged them to a fight, they took him directly into their cells.

Another was a fight in the 800-block of Pandora Ave., involving a machete and a bike chain at 4:45 p.m. No one was seriously injured, but police arrested the machete-wielding man who could be charged with possession of a dangerous weapon.

ecardone@vicnews.com