White Rock RCMP Staff. Sgt. Kale Pauls advises people it’s never a good idea to escalate minor bylaw offences into more serious charges. (Contributed photo)

‘Don’t escalate bylaw infractions’ – White Rock RCMP detachment OIC

Some are finding out that minor infractions can turn into major charges

Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls, White Rock RCMP detachment commander, has some advice for those who may feel inclined to be argumentative about the directions of city bylaw staff at the beach – just do what they’re asking.

In his quarterly report to city council, Pauls said it’s been increasingly observed that some are inclined to resist the authority of bylaw officers. But he said the price of an escalated exchange could ultimately be facing a serious charge over a relatively minor offence.

“We’ve seen a few instances where people are not following the lawful direction of bylaw officers on the beach – and this is for stuff like having dogs on the promenade and whatnot,” he said.

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“Just so the community is aware – bylaw officers have the right to ask for identification when a person is contravening a bylaw.”

When police are called to assist bylaw officers and ask for identification, he said, a refusal can actually constitute a criminal offence of obstruction, and the person can be subject to arrest and criminal charges.

“It’s not a thing we want at all, and the officers, when they meet these people, will explain the law; they will appeal to them to avoid any further escalation of the incident,” Pauls added.

“But some of these individuals make the choice to escalate a relatively minor bylaw offence into a criminal matter.”

In response to a question from Coun. David Chesney, Pauls estimated that there may be one such incident, on average, each week.

And he had a further offer for residents and visitors.

“If anyone feels violated by an application of the law in White Rock, please comply with the bylaw officer or the officer on the scene,” he said.

“If the RCMP are involved, contact me later and I will be glad to provide a perspective on the application of the law, and why something was done, if it wasn’t explained to you properly at the time.”

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