Surrey launches Inadmissible Patrons Program

Surrey is moving ahead with its Inadmissible Patrons Program in a bid to stop violence by gang members and associates at local bars and restaurants.

The program, launched Thursday by the Surrey RCMP, the city, the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association, and Restaurants Canada, is based on similar ones already in place in Vancouver and New Westminster.

Surrey RCMP’s gang enforcement team began developing an Inadmissible Patron Program after a report last year from the province’s Illegal Firearms Task Force recommended expanding bar watch programs to communities where they are warranted.

Last month’s report from the Mayors’ Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention recommended the city support the Surrey RCMP in developing and implementing an Inadmissible Patron Program.

“It has been made abundantly clear to me that Surrey residents want positive action on gangs and gun crimes,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, in a statement.

“The Inadmissible Patrons Program will not only identify gang members and individuals associated with violent crime, but the program will also allow for police to remove them immediately from the premises. As seen in other jurisdictions, this program will make it tough for criminals to do business in our city.”

The IPP will work to protect the safety of patrons, staff and the general public by giving police the legal authority, through authorization agreements and the BC Trespass Act, to remove individuals deemed as “inadmissible patrons” from participating establishments.

An inadmissible patron is defined as a person whose lifestyle, associations and/or activities pose a risk to public safety, either directly or from third parties. This includes people who are involved with or associated to organized crime, gangs, and the drug trade.

Police officers will not create any lists of inadmissible patrons.

Surrey’s new IPP is being rolled out in a graduated approach with eight restaurants and bars participating in the initial launch and more being added as the program grows.

There are also plans to expand the IPP to major public events in Surrey and possibly other types of businesses in the future.

ticrawford@postmedia.com

With files from Jennifer Saltman

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