July 16, 2019 7:54 pm

‘There are consequences’: Transit police to share info on problem riders with Barwatch

Bright lights and traffic along the Granville Mall, downtown Vancouver, B.C., January 4, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley
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Metro Vancouver Transit Police have started a new program that will see the force share information on problem transit riders with Barwatch.

The Barwatch program is operated by downtown nightclubs, and works by banning guests with violent criminal histories and sharing information between venues on problem customers.

Under the new deal, Barwatch members will also get that kind of information from transit police.

READ MORE: New code of conduct aims to cut down on violence in Vancouver’s nightclub district


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“If they’ve been in a Barwatch bar and when they go home think its a good idea to fight, get involved in a  sexual assault, harass females or fight with the Metro Vancouver Transit Police, we’re going to want to know that information and take a real strong look at banning them,” said Barwatch chair and former Vancouver police officer Curtis Robinson.

According to transit police, the program will focus on transit riders who are frequent patrons of the Granville Entertainment District, and who are causing trouble for other riders.

It said the information that gets passed on may include intelligence on their lifestyle or criminal associations that pose a risk to public safety.

READ MORE: Vancouver-style BarWatch program coming to Surrey

“The safety of transit users and staff is a priority for the Transit Police,” said Transit Police Chief Dave Jones.

“Barwatch has a proven history of success. We are happy to have an additional tool to further protect the public and staff on our transit system.”

Robinson said the new sharing agreement amounts to an extension of Barwatch’s Code of Conduct to the transit system.

READ MORE: TransLink launches downtown bus hub for late-night commuters, Barwatch says it’s a good start

That code was brought in last year after a downtown nightclub worker was fatally stabbed, and targets fighting, verbal abuse, harassment and theft, among other problem behaviours.

People caught breaking the code can face a one-year ban from Barwatch venues.

“So if you leave a Barwatch bar and decide at that time you’re going to act up, get into a fight, assault somebody, harass women … the chances are we’re going to find out and we’re going to bar you,” said Robinson.

“That level of accountability will convince people there are consequences.”

WATCH: (July 24, 2018) MADD Canada, BarWatch and Coquitlam mayor demand ridesharing before fall 2019

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