This year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies will take on an added air of security as local police forces plan to commit personnel to watch over events across the Island.
“It’s the reality we are living in today,” said Corporal Darren Lagan, RCMP media relations officer for the Island District, based in Victoria.
The increased security posture follows in the wake of the killing of a reservist soldier in Ottawa last month, as well as the death of a soldier in Quebec when a man driving a a car struck two soldiers not long before the shooting at Canada’s War Memorial. What followed was an order for off-duty military personnel to cease wearing their uniforms in public as a security precaution.
Captain Jenn Jackson, base public affairs officer at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, said they are working with local law enforcement on security at Remembrance Day ceremonies. As the events take place off-base, she said the jurisdiction over them falls to police forces.
The RCMP, said Lagan, will commit resources to security at Remembrance Day events large and small, where their members are taking part. The highly-visible red serge will still be there, he said, but said additional personnel will be allocated to keep an eye on the event. He would not give specifics on planned operations, adding the RCMP is communicating with municipal police forces and the Department of National Defence.
Lagan said the RCMP and municipal police forces are looking at the size of each event — from the larger Nov. 11 ceremonies at the B.C. Legislature, to smaller ones in communities like Sidney — and determining what resources to deploy.
He emphasized that the RCMP have not received any specific threats nor any information to support a higher risk concern at the Remembrance Day events.
“It’s a precaution, absolutely,” he sad. “We need to ensure that if we need to take steps, we have the correct resources available.”
Lagan reiterated that there have been no threat warnings and people attending Remembrance Day ceremonies should be able to do so safely, as they have done before.
Constable Mike Russell of the Victoria Police said they have received no information on any threats to Remembrance Day events in their jurisdiction. He said in a message to the News Review that it’s business as usual — the department will have traffic officers in place to direct vehicles around the ceremony at the cenotaph at the Legislature. VicPD members will be taking part in Remembrance Day events in both downtown Victoria and Esquimalt, he said.
Central Saanich Constable Jason Sneek said his department will have an increased presence and operational plan at that community’s Remembrance Day ceremony at municipal hall. Sneek said there has been no threat made to the department.