B.C. Transit’s Bill Shearer (front) and Stephen Anderson say special constables should have more power to deal with security issues on buses.

BC Transit seeks to boost security

BC Transit is looking to add special constables to its security ranks in the Capital Region.

BC Transit is looking to add special constables to its security ranks in the Capital Region.

Transit supervisors may also one day have the authority to issue tickets for transit offences. When transit-related offences — from spitting and other assaults to verbal threats and property damage — are heard in the courts, it’s often the first time Stephen Anderson, BC Transit’s senior manager of corporate safety and security for the province, learns the details of Crown counsel’s case and the police investigation.

But as special provincial constables, Anderson and his three-member security team would be able to access police files on transit crimes, provide additional evidence and help build strong cases for stiffer punishments.

BC Transit plans to submit its application for special constable powers to Solicitor General Shirley Bond in later this month.

“We give files (to police), but we also want to see their files and see what they’re doing,” Anderson said, adding that having a badge would allow special constables to walk into a police station and request police documents.

“There may be an incident that happened out there today, that happened at a bus stop or an exchange (that might only be reported to police but) that we might know nothing about.”

Special constables could also help link transit crimes such as graffiti vandalism, which would otherwise be treated as isolated incidents “and it’s all forgotten,” Anderson said.

“But we’re still left with cleaning, putting all the time, resources, money into doing that and not had a chance to present that as part of the package,” Anderson said, adding the enhanced abilities would allow the team to be more proactive in addressing problem cases and repeat offenders.

“We can then do what is necessary to ensure that one occurrence doesn’t become many occurrences,” Anderson said.

The peace officers would be able to enforce the Criminal Code of Canada, but would not spend their time patrolling transit routes in the province.

“We (would be) more investigators than routine patrollers,” said Anderson, who was a municipal police officer in England for 15 years, and a transit cop for 11 years for the London Underground.

If the team receives its badges, two more security staff members may be hired, possibly in 2012 or 2013.

To further boost his security team’s powers, Anderson plans in 2012 to ask Blair Lekstrom, B.C.’s minister of transportation and infrastructure, for a legislative change to the BC Transit Act, granting transit supervisors in the Capital Region the authority to issue 40 transit fines.

That power might discourage more riders from engaging in offensive or aggressive behaviour, said Bill Shearer, BC Transit’s chief transit supervisor. Fines range from $58 to $173.

That power would also free up police from having to respond to hundreds of calls each year for minor infractions, Anderson said, adding police alone currently have the ability to levy transit fines.

“We would be able to deal with smaller incidents at the time and (prevent) those smaller incidents from (escalating) to anything more, and then to avoid the court or policing processes because it stays within BC Transit,” Anderson said. “We don’t want to abuse our relationship (with police).”

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Just Posted

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

13 Island councils and boards compete in climate challenge to reduce ecological footprint

Councils and CRD board have one year to reduce average footprint

Sun on its way after Greater Victoria sees wettest July in six years

Environment Canada meteorologists say the drizzle is likely to end soon

Mayor’s charity tournament sells out both Bear Mountain courses

23rd annual event raises funds to make ‘a positive difference in Langford’

Saanich samples the best of local food at Pepper’s Foods showcase.

Tenth annual showcase celebrates local food producers and vendors

VIDEO: 1,400 classic cars roll into Victoria for Deuce Days

The four-day festival highlights classic hot rods, with a special emphasis on cars built in 1932

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Most Read