(Files by Brendan Pawliw – My Prince George Now)
The union representing RCMP officers is expressing concerns about the looming travel restrictions between health units starting tomorrow (Friday).
National Police Federation BC Director Rob Farrer says setting up roadblocks from Alberta or between all health regions in the province would put a huge strain on resources.
He added comparing periodic roadblocks to the anti-drinking and driving campaign is a bad idea from the government.
“Impaired driving is clearly an illegal activity and it’s very clear there are measurable devices that can be used to determine impairment and if you are not (impaired) you are free to go. This is going to be based on a judgment call at the side of the road on whether travel is essential or not.”
Farrer added there is a lack of clarity when it comes to enforcement and they don’t want more division created between police and the citizens.
“Normally, when you go through training and you spend your time and you learn that a new change comes out. We get it, this is a pandemic so things change rapidly – when you have the ability to affect people’s civil liberties, we have to be cautious about how we do that.”
“The logistics about what (the enforcement) might look like and who is going to be making the determination on what travel is essential and what is recreational and just the logistics from a resources point of view, we are not sure how that is going to work.”
In addition, setting up roadblocks to check for those not obeying the rules will stretch their thin resources to the brink.
“Having roadblocks from Alberta is a lot different than between all the health regions in the province. You can imagine just the resources required to man and to staff roadblocks at all the main roads and districts all the way until after the May long weekend.”
“Most people will follow these restrictions and most people will listen and we have to continue to work from that angle. We don’t want to create more division between the police and the citizenry.”
“That is never a good outcome,” added Farrer.
Last week, the Ontario government announced similar restrictions but were later rejected by the police.