Heightened police presence to be seen in local bars
London Community News
By Mallory Clarkson/London Community News/Twitter: @MalloryClarkson
Patrons of local bars will see a heightened police presence in licenced pubs and clubs starting the end of August.
John Pare, deputy chief of administration with the London Police Service (LPS), announced the department’s involvement in a province-wide project called Community Alcohol Safety Enforcement (CASE) Program on Wednesday (Aug. 22), which is aimed at creating heightened public awareness around inspections and enforcement under the Liquor Licence Act. What that will mean for local bars is an increase in check-ins relating to serving minors, intoxication, permitting disorderly behaviour in licenced premises, overcrowding and after-hours service.
“It’s the inspection of licenced establishments and part of that is educating the bar owners and staff in relation to their responsibilities about the sale and service,” Pare told reporters. “It’s about the education and prevention of these types of problems.”
The deputy chief explained the LPS already holds almost weekly inspections of licenced establishments across the city, but the focus of the CASE program is prevention. In total, approximately 260 charges have been laid in London establishments over the past year-and-a-half.
The CASE program is a bi-annual project that was developed by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police in partnership with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario. It will augment an existing program in place by the LPS, called Project LEARN (Liquor Enforcement and Reduction in Noise), which is a strategy where police monitor places like the neighbourhoods surrounding Fanshawe College, Western University and downtown for inappropriate behaviour that’s disruptive to the community.
As for whether bar owners will see a big difference between Project LEARN and the CASE Program, Pare explained this new program is more a provincial initiative where different police services will share tactics and strategies about the prevention.
“Because it’s province-wide, it may not have been carried out in other cities to the same level as we have as part of Project LEARN,” he said.
The CASE program will consist of two one-week campaigns, with a focus in the fall when post-secondary students return to school, and when the patio and boating season begins in the spring. The autumn component begins next Thursday (Aug. 30).