Victoria Police are recommending several charges against separate individuals after three incidents over the last two weeks have left officers with physical injuries.
“Assaults on police officers are on the rise,” VicPD spokesperson Const. Matt Rutherford said, citing the number of violent interactions between police and civilians are also on the rise.
Shortly before 1:00 a.m. on Jan. 18, officers stopped a man after a disturbance at the corner of Douglas and Yates streets. He initially obstructed officers in their investigation so they attempted to arrest him; he became violent and a struggle ensued. When the man was taken into custody, he was searched and found to be carrying a knife. Officers believe he had been attempting to grab the knife during the altercation with police but the handle of the weapon broke.
“It was a dangerous situation,” Rutherford said. “That could have been a much more dangerous situation had the gentleman retrieved the knife.”
Both the man and the officers sustained non-life threatening injuries, but the man was transported to hospital and due to the nature of his injuries, the Independent Investigations Office was notified.
Officers are recommending several charges including: three counts of assaulting a police officer; two counts of carrying a concealed weapon; one count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose; one count of resisting or obstructing a peace officer and one count of failure to comply with conditions.
“These incidents outline the dangers our officers face on a daily basis while policing in Victoria and Esquimalt,” VicPD said in a statement.
In a separate incident Jan. 24, officers were called to the 700-block of Johnson Street for reports of a man refusing to leave. Upon arrival officers spoke with the man who did not co-operate with their verbal commands. An interaction turned physical when the man began to struggle with the officer, who deployed pepper spray.
The officer was treated at the scene for non-life threatening injuries and the man was taken into custody. Officers are recommending charges of assault of a police officer and failure to comply with recognizance.
Officers were called to a third incident Jan. 28 to deal with a man who was refusing to leave a business in the 1700-block of Hillside Avenue. In dealing with the man, he spat on the officers, leaving one with non-life threatening injuries. The officer was treated in hospital and the investigation is ongoing.
Stats Canada reported that in 2016, 99 people were charged with assaulting a Victoria Police officer, up from 50 people in 2006.