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Troublemakers tax Victoria police to the limit

Aug 08 2012

The B.C. Day long weekend was one of the busiest on record for the Victoria police department, says acting chief John Ducker.

The department dealt with 750 calls from Friday to early Tuesday morning, close to 100 more than the same time span last year.

The call volume "taxed our policing capabilities to the maximum," Ducker said in a statement.

An average Saturday brings in about 150 calls, while this past Canada Day generated 200 calls.

The long weekend was crammed with celebrations like Symphony Splash, the Victoria Electronic Music Festival and the City of Victoria's 150th-anniversary activities, and police said downtown bars and clubs were close to capacity.

Ducker said a detailed review of the weekend's police work will be conducted. Police estimated the Symphony Splash crowd at 50,000 and the two-day Victoria Electronic Music Festival crowd at 10,000. Officers made a number of arrests Saturday night at the festival for such offences as public intoxication and fighting, while paramedics were called to deal with several overdoses.

Festival executive producer John Fannon said fencing was added at this year's festival in an effort to keep troublemakers out of Centennial Square.

"As far as we're concerned, as far as our crew and our staff are concerned, I think everybody did everything they could to make the event successful and safe," Fannon said.

"We did put on a good show. It was a really solid engagement and families were back out again this year."

Victoria police also stopped five suspected impaired drivers at a downtown roadblock early Tuesday.

jwbell@timescolonist.com