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Police OT costs rise sharply thanks to protests, rallies

The Victoria Police Department’s overtime costs for policing protests, rallies and demonstrations are already more than double what they were in 2019.
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Protesters block the Johnson Street Bridge on Feb. 8. They said they were acting in support of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who oppose construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.

The Victoria Police Department’s overtime costs for policing protests, rallies and demonstrations are already more than double what they were in 2019.

By March 5, the department had spent $183,000 to police 34 protests, compared with $82,765 on 40 events all of last year.

In addition to attending almost as many events as they did in 2019, the department says the protests have been “longer, larger and more resource-intensive” in the first two months of 2020.

“Whenever possible, on-duty resources are used to provide public safety,” the department said in a statement. “However, if the size and complexity of an event requires it, additional officers will be deployed on overtime to ensure public safety.”

Protesters shut downs roads and bridges and blockaded the B.C. legislature in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to a natural gas pipeline in their traditional territory.

The police department said in a statement that its officers “monitor the events from a public safety perspective, interact with organizers through our community liaison officers, provide traffic control on roads, bridges and intersections and escort participants during events on public roadways to ensure the safety of all involved.”

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