Statement from Mayor Helps and Mayor Desjardins, Co-Chairs of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board, on Recent Assaults of VicPD Officers
Date: September 15, 2021
On behalf of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board, we denounce the assaults against VicPD officers that have happened in the past few weeks. VicPD officers are working hard in extraordinarily challenging circumstances to serve all members of our community. They need to be safe as they do their important work.
Our officers are being left to pick up the pieces and fill the gaps in what are revolving doors in the criminal justice system and the health system. There are not enough services available for people, nor are there the right kinds of services for those who most need them.
We know that In British Columbia, the decision to release a person is based on the likelihood they will attend court, the risk posed to public safety, and the impact on confidence in the criminal justice system. In addition, Bill C-75, which came into effect nationally in 2019, has legislated a “principle of restraint” that requires police to release an accused person at the earliest possible opportunity after considering these factors.
However, it is clearly not working to release people with high needs back into the community without the appropriate supports and resources to keep them and the public safe, and our officers out of harm’s way.