A convoy of honking trucks and anti-government protestors that planned to entrench themselves in James Bay fizzled out before it could gain a foothold.
"Safe, peaceful and lawful protest are protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Occupation is not," states a VicPD media release. "Dangerous and/or unlawful activity will continue to be met with de-escalation and enforcement.
By being proactive, the Victoria Police Department were able to avoid a prolonged disruption to businesses and residents. VicPD consulted with Ottawa police about lessons learned by that city when it permitted a protest that then turned into an encampment.
VicPD Police Chief Del Manak shared his insights as a guest speaker at The Chamber's Public Policy and Advocacy committee meeting this week. Chief Manak was also asked about efforts to create a regional police department that could draw resources from more than one municipality. VicPD works with their neighbouring police forces as much as possible, but there's no question the department faces critical constraints. The job of police is to protect people in their community, regardless of where they're from. In Greater Victoria, that means VicPD protect everyone who visits downtown for work in the day or for all of its entertainment options in the evening.
The Chamber has long called for a regional police force, and we will be looking for indications government is listening when the provincial Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act is released April 28.