The issues of policing priorities and public urination downtown cropped up on the weekend after Victoria police tweeted about catching people urinating in local alleys.
The official Victoria Police Department Twitter account tweeted a photo Sunday of a team of officers in a dark alley that was taken on Saturday night.
“It’s not just bars, we are also checking alleys and pathways,” read the tweet. “So far we’ve caught 2 people urinating, let’s keep the streets clean, folks.”
The tweet brought criticism from people saying this was a waste of resources and that it highlighted the need for more public toilets downtown. Many Victoria businesses have decried the number of people who don’t even use alleys to urinate, but are seen doing it on sidewalks – scaring away customers.
“Perhaps we need more public toilets, rather than more police to bust people for peeing,” tweeted @JonesSebastian.
The tweet comes as a time when the VicPD is seeking a 9.55 per cent funding boost this year – an increase that has sparked debate about spending priorities.
“Each of these people make close to or over 100k a year, and we need a massive gang of them to tell a single person not to pee in a secluded alley,” @baronjutter tweeted in response. “Imagine what this city could have with a slashed police budget. The actual problems we could solve…”
“Personally, I wouldn’t brag about being on the Pee Patrol but that’s just me,” tweeted @axeandcrocus.
“Is this a parody account? Or are are you really posting about catching a couple of people pissing?” asked @Kingleary2.
Some of the responses prompted another VicPD tweet, this one clarifying that police weren’t only looking for people urinating in alleys.
“Here’s what we’re really looking for when we patrol the alleys: sexual assaults, fights & assaults, intoxicated persons and others who need help,” read a VicPD tweet. “We’re here to keep you safe, and if the worst that’s happening is public urination, we’ll call that a ‘relief’.”
“There are 24 hr public washrooms in the area, just steps from where we came across these guys, actually,” the VicPD added.
Some Victoria residents also applauded the effort.
“Thank you Vic PD for cleaning out the streets and getting Victoria back to its former glory,” tweeted @Nik_belanger.
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