RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg

B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

British Columbia’s solicitor general says the government will release details of what is considered essential travel this week as the province looks at using roadblocks to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Mike Farnworth described the checkpoints as a type of “counterattack,” often used to find drunk drivers, but this time meant to discourage recreational travel outside of a person’s health authority.

A “full and comprehensive” list on what is considered essential travel will be released later this week, Farnworth said at a news conference Wednesday.

His comments come as the National Police Federation released a statement saying it has “grave concerns” about police taking part in enforcing a COVID-19 ban on non-essential travel.

A statement from Brian Sauve, president of the federation, said asking the police to enforce roadblocks puts even greater pressure on limited resources and exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections.

“Equally important, we are continuing to enhance and build on our relationships with vulnerable and racialized communities, and the ambiguity and potentially negative impacts of these orders risk reversing this progress,” he said.

He also pointed to a similar attempt in Ontario where the province had to pedal back enforcement measures.

Officers were originally given powers to stop any pedestrian or driver to ask why they’re out or request their home address.

But on Sunday, Doug Ford’s government limited police to being able to stop people who they had reason to believe were participating in an “organized public event or social gathering.”

Police forces in Ontario had said they had no intention of exercising their new powers ahead of the reversal.

Sauve noted that police services took the “unusual step” of rejecting the orders.

“They explained in no uncertain terms that Ontario police officers had no appetite to act on enhanced powers that are typically found in police states, and that doing so would erode a currently fragile public trust, especially with vulnerable and racialized communities,” he said.

British Columbia reported 862 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and seven more deaths, for a total of 1,546 fatalities since the pandemic started.

A joint statement from the health minister and provincial health officer said more than 1.4 million doses of the vaccine have been administered.

Those in B.C. who are now 30 years and older are eligible to register for the vaccine in the age-based vaccination program.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 21, 2021.

RELATED: ‘Very scary’: B.C. travel rules too vague, shouldn’t involve police, civil liberties group says

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Police

Just Posted

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

RCMP vest
Penticton beach brawl results in one arrest but no charges

People took to social media after a fight broke out at the fire pits at Okanagan Lake Saturday

Vernon local Ryan Lazar – who specializes in 2D background design and 3D animation – is ready to start his career after a tough yet rewarding two years of studies. (Contributed)
Okanagan College students get animated at graduation

‘The pandemic has resulted in more video consumption and the animation industry is so hot right now because of it’

Road work is underway in Penticton so traffic controllers are asking drivers to be aware. (Submitted)
Message to Penticton drivers: Slow down and pay attention in Cone Zones

Over the last 10 years in B.C., 12 roadside workers died and 207 were injured

Meghan Thompson and her daughter Kennedy Lanteigne were awarded bravery awards on Saturday for helping to save the life of a baby drowning off a Naramata beach last June. (Submitted)
Penticton mom and daughter receive bravery awards for saving baby from drowning

Off duty Penticton fire captain also awarded for saving the boy’s life last summer in Naramata

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Barriere RCMP nabbed two suspects who were allegedly breaking into cabins in McLure. (File photo)
Thieves nabbed by Barriere Mounties during McLure break-ins

Police Service Dog Kody instrumental in making the arrest

(File photo)
Repeated cougar sighting on Okanagan Rail Trail

Plenty of bear sightings around the valley too

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

A single motorcycle parked outside of the Kelowna Hells Angels clubhouse at 837 Ellis Street on July 9, 2020. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna Hells Angels prospect sentenced to 9 months in jail for aggravated assault

Colin Michael Bayley pleaded guilty to the downtown Kelowna assault earlier this month

Salmon Arm RCMP seize a handgun, drugs and cash at a Silver Creek property on Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Police seize handgun, drugs and cash at a Shuswap property

Salmon Arm RCMP said warrant for Silver Creek revealed cannabis, possible cocaine, magic mushrooms

Vernon Search and Rescue, along with Shuswap members, rescued three kayakers near Lumby Sunday, May 16, 2021. (VSAR Instagram)
3 kayakers rescued in North Okanagan

Shuswap, Vernon search and rescue teams make swift-water rescue Sunday

Most Read