Quesnel’s annual festival celebrates Billy Barker, who struck gold in the Cariboo. The event features a parade, amusement rides, live entertainment and a rodeo. Melanie Law photo

Almost 50 people held in cells during annual summer festival in central B.C.

Billy Barker Days is one of Northern B.C.’s largest festivals, and local RCMP were kept on their toes

Almost 50 people were held in cells during an annual summer festival in Quesnel, B.C. last weekend.

Quesnel RCMP were busy during the city’s annual Billy Barker Days event, saying the number of calls to RCMP were up at the 2018 festival compared with 2016. The 2017 festival was cancelled due to wildfires in the Cariboo.

Between 6 p.m. on Thursday July 19 and 6 a.m. on Monday July 23, Quesnel RCMP responded to 173 calls. In 2016, calls totalled 149.

A total of 33 people were arrested for causing a disturbance or being intoxicated and unable to care for themselves in public, say the RCMP – the same number were arrested for that reason in 2016. And 15 people were arrested for other criminal code offences, which was triple the number arrested in 2016.

This included one man arrested in relation to a fatal stabbing at a home in Quesnel on the Saturday of Billy Barker Days.

A total of 49 people were held in cells over the weekend, and there were six immediate roadside prohibitions issued for alcohol-related offences. In 2016, 38 people were held in cells and there were four roadside prohibitions issued.

Quesnel RCMP say they always increase police presence for the festival, with thousands of people flocking to the city for the annual event.

“Billy Barker Days is one of the busiest festivals in Northern B.C. … You will see more members out ensuring everyone is enjoying themselves in a lawful manner,” Quesnel RCMP Sgt. Chris Riddle told Black Press.

The local Billy Barker Days Society, which puts on the event, says thousands of people attend events in the city’s centrally located park every day during the event. The festival celebrate’s the region’s gold rush history.

“With the increase in population comes the increase in call volume. That doesn’t necessarily mean there are more problems, but if you bring an extra 5,000 to town, that’s an extra 5,000 that could potentially cause issues,” Riddle explained.

Riddle said some members of Northern Traffic Services are brought to the city, and Quesnel RCMP members are redeployed from their regular postings to be visible around town.

RCMP officers patrolled the downtown areas on foot and bicycle, and there were extra patrol cars on the roads.

The news comes after recent Stats Canada information indicates that Quesnel’s crime rate was almost four times the national average in 2017.



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

A member of the Quesnel RCMP hands out stickers in the city’s main park. The local detachment increased membership in town over Billy Barker Days, with the increase in population. It was a prudent move, with calls to RCMP up between Thursday and Sunday of the festival. Melanie Law photo

Just Posted

Crashes pile up as snow blankets Surrey

Up to 10 centimetres of snow is in the forecast

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Surrey pastor in concert with songs from her new ‘Psalms for a Peaceful Heart’ CD

‘Incredible’ church sanctuary in Whalley a stage for Lori-Anne Boutin-Crawford’s music

Plan to redevelop former Surrey motel site too dense, says Coun. Pettigrew

Pettigrew: ‘We need to build liveable community with green spaces… not massive zones that are densified’

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

NDP candidates push for stronger climate action as Singh supports LNG Canada

Singh has tried to project unity in the party while facing internal criticism for poor fundraising and low support in the polls

Ex-Langley spiritual leader cleared of stock trading allegations

Investors allegedly lost $740,000 investing through a local religious organization.

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

Most Read