West Shore RCMP looking to bring in anti-gang program for businesses

WatchIf you're a regular at the bars in the West Shore, you could soon see some changes. The RCMP are taking steps to stop gangs and other undesirable people from coming in for a drink. Julian Kolsut reports.

The RCMP is looking at bringing a program to the West Shore that is in place in gang hot-spots like Surrey and Kamloops.

Their Inadmissible Patron Program (IPP) helps bars and businesses alike to block people with connections to organized crime groups from being in their establishments.

In places like Surrey, businesses display the IPP logo. If they find that person is connected to gangs or organized crime while checking IDs, they can request they leave and if needed,call in the RCMP.

The specifics have not been released yet, but in the other cities, the information comes up when they scan IDs.

Similar programs exist across Canada. Victoria police’s “bar watch” helps bars keep troublemakers out through a database that flags patrons when their ID is scanned.

The West Shore RCMP has already approached the WestShore Chamber of Commerce about the program.

“The first step for really is to have an information session with interested businesses. The intent is really to get ahead of any potential problem,” said Julie Lawlor, the executive director of the chamber of commerce.

“[The RCMP] has seen this program has worked really well in Kamloops and Kelowna.”

But the B.C. Civil Liberties Association has been worried about the program from the start.

“We think that its breaking privacy laws in addition to due process and general rule of law principals,” said Meghan McDermott from the BCCLA.

“People are going into the bars I don’t think they really know what will end up with their information. And if you are blacklisted, it’s really unclear what the threshold is to get in the list… some people have had some gang connections in the past, and even 10 years later, they have distanced themselves from that community.”

The Loghouse Pub in Langford says they are not seeing much gang activity in their bar, but is open to the program.

“I hear whispers of stuff, they could be in the community or they are growing because it is a never-ending growing community in the West Shore, but at this point, not too aware of any problems,” said pub manager Darren Cross.

“Attracting the wrong sort of business or clientele later at night is sort of a friction aspect in the room that you don’t want. You want everybody to feel comfortable and happy.”

On Friday and Saturday, the pub closes at midnight — unlike other bars.

“In theory for some whatever reason, it seems to curb the trouble,” Cross said.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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