Victoria, Esquimalt mayors denounce recent violence against police, 'revolving doors' of justice system

The mayors of Victoria and Esquimalt, who are also co-chairs of the local police board, are expressing their concerns following recent violent incidents in the community.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins are throwing their support behind Victoria police, after the police department reported recent assaults against its officers – and after a VicPD officer fatally shot an allegedly "armed man in crisis."

"On behalf of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board, we denounce the assaults against VicPD officers that have happened in the past few weeks," said Helps and Desjardins in a joint statement Wednesday.

"VicPD officers are working hard in extraordinarily challenging circumstances to serve all members of our community," said the pair. "They need to be safe as they do their important work."

On Tuesday, VicPD said that an off-duty officer was attacked while walking a dog, and another officer was head-butted while arresting a man.

One week earlier, a VicPD officer reportedly received a head wound during an assault in the Vic West area, prompting a large response from several agencies, including police, firefighters, the Coast Guard and Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt.

"Our officers are being left to pick up the pieces and fill the gaps in what are revolving doors in the criminal justice system and the health system," said Desjardins and Helps on Wednesday.

"There are not enough services available for people, nor are there the right kinds of services for those who most need them."

The Victoria City Police Union voiced similar concerns on Monday, saying that the "proverbial 'revolving door'" is leading to dangerous encounters that may have otherwise been avoided if more supports were in place for vulnerable people.

The union made its statement Monday following the fatal police shooting on Sunday, which the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating.