Five members of the grassroots group Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en were arrested at the BC Legislature building in a March protest. (Black Press Media file photo)

Five members of the grassroots group Indigenous Youth for Wet’suwet’en were arrested at the BC Legislature building in a March protest. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria Police overtime costs soar after series of protests in the downtown area

Demonstrations by environmentalists and Indigenous Youth large drivers to costs

Victoria Police say costs for overtime associated with protests and demonstrations skyrocketed in 2020.

In a release, VicPD said that in 2019 the department attended 40 public rallies, protests, demonstrations and marches, accumulating $82, 765 worth of overtime for police.

Between January 1, 2020 and March 5, 2020, however, costs jumped to $183,037 after attending 34 larger protests.

ALSO READ: Wet’suwet’en supporters occupying legislature in Victoria hold mass day-long teach-in

“In an effort to ensure that participants and others are kept safe at these events, 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,” the VicPD release reads.

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

Some of the larger group demonstrations at that time were organized by environmentalist groups like Extinction Rebellion, student walk-outs and a series of large demonstrations and sit-ins by supporters of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary chiefs in their campaign against the Coast GasLink installation in northern B.C.

ALSO READ: Victoria bridges reopen after being closed by Wet’suwet’en supporters

VicPD added that these are only overtime costs, and do not include costs associated with regular daily work of officers and staff who may have been in attendance, or for overtime costs for any partner agencies which help VicPD through the Integrated Public Safety Unit.

More to come…

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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