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

Fire destroys house in Greenwood on Saturday

Neighbours say the fire started around 11:30 a.m.

Alleged drunk driver survives Saturday Kettle River crash

The car, once removed from the river, will be impounded for 30 days

Snowfall warning for Kootenay and Paulson passes

Up to 30 cm expected in mountain passes Saturday and Sunday.

Grand Forks residents rally for a ‘fair deal’ in flood buyouts

Demonstrators also criticized how long it has taken to be offered land deals

Police seize drugs, weapons and cash from Christina Lake residence

One man was arrested when RCMP executed a search warrant on Nov. 14

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Duncan man gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty trial

Joe also gets lifetime ban on owning animals

B.C. pushes for greater industry ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

Most Read