Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media during a press conference in the press gallery at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday Feb. 5, 2018. (Chad Hipolito/The Canadian Press)

B.C. looks to create witness security program

Minister Mike Farnworth said program would be another step in curbing gang and gun violence

B.C.’s public safety minister wants to create an in-house program to better support and protect witnesses testifying against gangsters and violent offenders.

Mike Farnworth said Thursday the program would build on the existing federal witness protection program.

“People with intimate details of the most serious crimes, or the activities of gangs and organized crime on our streets, should not feel their life will be in danger if they do the right thing and tell police,” he said.

There are delays when applying to the federal program and “stringent” requirements that can cause low witness retention, a release said – frustrating for police and prosecutors who have often worked for months securing the witness.

If passed, the proposal will help witnesses safely attend trial, offer treatment services for mental health challenges and addiction, and help with identity changes and job training. It would be launched within the next two years.

Kevin Hackett, assistant commissioner of BC RCMP Criminal Operations, said the program would be “one more tool” to help police destabilize gangs.

“It reinforces the fact that there can be a successful way for those who choose to exit the gang lifestyle, do the right thing and change their life,” he said.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

5-foot-long snake reported lost in Rutland

Buddy the snake is reported to be harmless and was reported missing May 22

Rockslide closes one southbound lane 2 km north of Summerland

DriveBC reported the slide just after 6:30 a.m.

Kelowna parents attend gang information session

Safer Schools Together trainers and former Hells Angel spoke to parents on May 22

RV trailer fire suppressed in West Kelowna late Thursday night

West Kelowna Fire Rescue aided BC Wildfire Services near Bear Creek Park

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: weekend rain

Environment Canada forecasts continuing bad weather for the start of the weekend

BREAKING: Court says B.C. can’t restrict oil shipments in key case for Trans Mountain

A five-judge Appeal Court panel agreed unanimously that B.C.’s proposed legislation was not constitutional

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Last call for contestants in Teen Band Contest

Winners will play on stage at Penticton Peach Festival in August

Hope grows for Shuswap foodbanks thanks to modest volunteers

Secret garden donated 1,100 pounds of vegetables produced last year

Salmon Arm seeks to borrow $845,000 for Shuswap Regional Airport runway

Residents have until June 24 to voice opposition to bylaw

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read