BarWatch Program proposed to stop late-night hooliganism

Tired of vandalism, late-night shouting and other weirdness by drunks? A BarWatch Program similar to those in use in Banff and Whistler is being proposed to control the yahoos who seem intent on turning our city into Rowdy-Central.

“Our beautiful city of Revelstoke has been experiencing surging annual tourism growth.  One of the growing pains most associated with such rapid development and population increase is that of keeping law enforcement and crime prevention efforts ahead of the curve,” Jon MacKenzie and Tyler Hopkins of Sol Security said in a statement last week. ”To that end the management at Outabounds Nightclub, The Last Drop Pub, and The Powder Springs Hotel are eager to bring the BarWatch Program to Revelstoke.”

They said they experienced the advantages of the program while working in Banff’s lively nightclub and bar industry “know the advantages a program like this can deliver to the community.”

“Allowing our security people, hospitality management and local, on-patrol law enforcement a direct line of communication affords them the ability to minimize incidents that reflect badly upon our nightlife and our city,” they said. “Preemptively removing hostile elements dramatically reduces public disturbance incidents; in turn, making our community a safer, nicer place to visit and live.”

The company, which made a presentation to City Council, said that it will provide a free BarWatch radio for use by on duty RCMP. Program participants will be required to purchase their own radios in order to participate in BarWatch. Sol Security will hire a rover / dispatcher who, while conducting Sol Security contract patrols, will act as a dispatcher, recording any incidents requiring RCMP response within the program. BarWatch participants not using Sol Security services will be charged a small dispatch service fee.

Participants of the Revelstoke BarWatch Program will be required to adhere to a written agreement with the Revelstoke RCMP in which participants agree to a strict radio protocol as laid out by the detachment. Use of BarWatch radios will be restricted to establishment management and participants must understand that the BarWatch program and any communication between RCMP members on duty and BarWatch participants, must not interfere with or distract RCMP members from performing their vital job within the community. The RCMP response to communications within the BarWatch program remain at the discretion of the RCMP member on duty.

The statement also outlined the specific advantages of BarWatch:

  • When a bar or nightclub ejects a patron for being overly intoxicated or violent, other drinking establishments can be immediately notified with a description of the offender, preventing the patron from entering another participating establishment;
  • When a bar or nightclub ejects a patron for being intoxicated or violent and is suspicious that the patron is planning to drive, the establishment can immediately communicate this to RCMP on duty. Bar personnel can provide fast, accurate information and descriptions giving officers a vital edge in crime prevention;
  • When a bar or nightclub ejects a patron for committing a criminal offence including drug activity, the bar security staff has no legal right to restrain this patron outside the doors of the bar. The BarWatch program would dramatically cut down on response time, and allow for direct communication of information and descriptions – especially helpful in transient and tourism based populations; and
  • When a bar or nightclub ejects a patron for being intoxicated, or violent, and is suspicious that this patron will continue this activity outside the establishment and that RCMP involvement is imminent, the establishment can then notify the RCMP giving the officers on duty the opportunity to intercede before any further criminal activity takes place.