The Delta Police Department’s violence suppression team will continue patrolling the city through to at least the end of the year.
The violence suppression team was launched on May 15 as a three-month project and reviewed at the end of August. On Friday afternoon (Oct. 8), the DPD announced that, based on the team’s initial success, it had extended the project until the end of 2021.
Formed in the wake of a spike in gang-related violence across Metro Vancouver last spring, including the fatal shooting of 29-year-old corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa in the parking lot of North Delta’s Scottsdale Centre mall on May 1, the team’s focus is on intercepting potential gang-related activity, acting as a deterrent through a high-profile presence in public spaces such as along Scott Road and at popular restaurants, and regularly performing checks on individuals who must abide by curfews and release conditions.
The team publicizes its efforts on the DPD’s social media channels, ensuring the public — and those associated with the gang lifestyle — are well aware of what it’s members are up to.
“The team was created to be highly visible, and to deter individuals associated with violent crime from Delta,” Deputy Chief Harj Sidhu, who heads up operations for the DPD, said in a press release.
In its first three months, the team seized more than 50 weapons and made 148 roadside arrests or detentions. As well, the team generated 138 proactive investigations, forwarded 24 charge submission documents to Crown counsel and gathered valuable intelligence related to the gang activity, all without generating a single complaint form the public.
Further, the team gave a boost to the DPD’s existing Inadmissible Patron Program by recruiting new establishments to it.
Officers with the DPD’s violence suppression team were also the first front-line patrol police team in B.C. to use body-worn cameras on a regular basis, according to the device’s manufacturer, Axon.
“We had hoped by using body-worn cameras, our officers would face a reduced risk of violence. I’m pleased that since we began the deployment of the cameras with this team there have been no violent incidents that resulted in officer injuries,” Sidhu said.
He noted the department continues to work with regional partners to keep up the pressure on gangs in the Metro Vancouver area, and that the co-ordinated approach of frontline interdiction is making a difference.
“In combination with our patrol support team, our intention is to keep the foot on the gas, with continued checks of licensed premises for those associated to the gang conflict, as well as other activities to deter violence in Delta,” Sidhu said.