Businesses in Kamloops, B.C., are taking a tougher stance against gangs and barring their members.
The crackdown is part of the new Inadmissible Patron Program that launches this week involving a couple of dozen businesses and the Kamloops RCMP.
"Anyone that's wearing gang colors, is associated with gang members or leads that high risk lifestyle dealing drugs and violent crime, they're not going to be welcome," said Const. Brad Matchim, who's with the crime prevention unit.
RCMP Officers doing bar checks will ask someone with organized crime to leave the establishment.
Matchim brushed aside concerns that identifying a gang member can be vague or discretionary.
"Our members are dealing with these people in day and day out, so we know who the players are in town," he told Shelley Joyce, the host of CBC's Daybreak Kamloops.
Leave or face arrest
An RCMP officer going through a restaurant or bar does not need to check in with staff before asking a patron to leave, he said. They'll run background checks as one safeguard against the ban on innocent bar-goers.
"They've already given us permission through this program that we do not want these people in our establishment," Matchim said.
Similar programs exist in the Lower Mainland and Kelowna.
Typically, Matchim said, gang members who are asked to leave in other places do so peacefully.
"They are aware of the program, and they just get up and pay their bill and away they go," Matchim said.
A patron who refuses to leave can be arrested under the B.C. Trespass Act.
"We want to make the restaurant and bar experience in the nightlife for people safer," he said. "Every city has this issue, and this is just one of the tools that we're using to help tackle this."