Victoria, BC – January 3rd, 2024 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BC Association of Chiefs of Police respects Justice Hinkson’s decision, emphasizes need to address public consumption
The British Columbia Association of Chiefs of Police (BCACP) acknowledges and respects the recent decision by B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson to impose a temporary injunction against the Restricting Public Consumption of Illegal Substances Act (the ‘Act’). While we support the judicial process, we also recognize the urgent need to address the ongoing challenges related to problematic public drug consumption in our communities.
Our commitment to public safety remains steadfast. The BCACP supported the Act, believing it to be a vital tool in providing legal measures to manage public drug use, especially in areas frequented by families and children. The Act provided police with the ability to ask an individual who they believed on reasonable grounds was consuming illicit drugs in public, in specified locations, without criminalizing them. The temporary suspension of the Act, which had not yet come into force, pauses what we viewed as a progressive step towards public health and safety.
We understand the complexities of drug use and addiction, and advocate for a balanced approach that includes support for those struggling with substance abuse, while also ensuring the safety and well-being of all members of the public. The BCACP is committed to engaging in constructive dialogue with all stakeholders, including health professionals, government bodies, and community groups, to find effective and compassionate solutions to these societal challenges.
As law-enforcement professionals, we will continue to work within the legal frameworks available to us, respecting the rights and dignity of all individuals, while also focusing on our core responsibility to maintain public order and ensure safe communities.
“The BCACP supported the Act in its current form and appreciated the province making efforts to address community concerns about problematic public consumption that has taken hold since decriminalization,” said Deputy Chief Constable Fiona Wilson, President of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police and Chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) Drug Advisory Committee.
“It is critical that police officers have the legal tools to address community safety concerns and intervene when people are using illicit substances in problematic locations, such as places where children and families are present. We believe this legislation would have assisted us in doing that.”
The BCACP continues to stand in support of the spirit of decriminalization and assisting individuals living with addiction, recognizing the importance of a compassionate and evidence-based approach to ensure people receive the care they need. We stand committed in our desire to not criminalize people who use drugs, but to re-direct them to alternate health pathways of care.
Deputy Chief Fiona Wilson
President, BC Association of Chiefs of Police and Chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) Drug Advisory Committee
For media inquiries, please contact:
Executive Director, BC Association of Chiefs of Police
About the BC Association of Chiefs of Police (BCACP)
The BC Association of Chiefs of Police (BCACP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting effective law enforcement and public safety in British Columbia. The BCACP represents police chiefs and senior law enforcement officials from municipal, provincial, and federal agencies across the province. The association strives to enhance collaboration, knowledge sharing, and professional development among its members to address the evolving challenges in policing and ensure the safety and well-being of the communities they serve.