Reports of assaults on clients outside of the Supervised Consumption Services (SCS) site in Lethbridge were confirmed by staff and police on Thursday.
“There has been some inappropriate behaviour directed at our clients from the community,” said Lindsay Stella, program manager at the SCS. “There have been instances of physical and verbal assaults against our clients.”
“We can confirm that we have attended and dealt with some instances in regards to users of the site being targeted,” said Sgt. Robin Klassen with the Lethbridge Police Service. “Just like any other call that the police get, they are thoroughly investigated and we follow through to determine what has happened.”
Police would not provide specific details related to the assaults, but confirmed that on two occasions, video surveillance was used to help verify the incidents.
In one case, a man was charged with assault with a weapon.
Paladin Security monitors the site and also confirms multiple incidents, including at least one bear spray attack and one where a security guard was struck by a car while trying to question a group of people who were seen accosting clients. The guard suffered minor injuries.
LPS say this message is also shared with businesses around the SCS.
“As a sergeant of the Downtown Policing Unit, we regularly attend the businesses in the area and we encourage them to make those reports to us so we know what’s happening in the community so we can deal with it the best way possible,” Klassen said.
Supervised Consumption Services staff acknowledge crimes in the area don’t just affect their clients.
“I recognize there’s issues, challenges and struggles for the businesses and the community and we’re working really hard to address their concerns,” Stella said.
Police are urging the public to report any and all criminal activity.
“We encourage anybody that has been the victim of a crime or who has witnessed a crime to report it to the police and come forward,” Klassen said.