(File)

(File)

Transit Police have handed out more than $74K in COVID fines since masks became mandatory

Sgt. Hampton said transit police have received verbal and physical abuse in return.

Metro Vancouver Transit Police have handed out more than $74,060 in COVID-19 tickets since B.C. began requiring masks in indoor public spaces in November.

According to spokesperson Sgt. Clint Hampton, that equates to 228 tickets in 2020 and 94 up to Feb. 21 this year. Each ticket is worth $230.

However, along with handing out tickets, Hampton said transit police have received verbal and physical abuse in return.

“Unfortunately, Transit Police also experienced an increase in obstructive behaviours and officers being assaulted during their interactions with persons who refuse to abide by these regulations,” Hampton told Black Press Media by email on Monday (March 15).

“Officers enforcing the regulations are already at an increased personal risk by having to deal with people who are unmasked and whose health status is unknown during a pandemic.”

Hampton added that the anti-maskers are often “immediately confrontational and in some circumstances physically combative with officers from the onset of the interaction.”

The transit police spokesperson said that people who disagree with the tickets or the provincial health order requiring them can choose to dispute the fine in court.

“We discourage anyone who is unhappy with the provincial health order from resorting to serious criminal offences such as obstructing or assaulting a police officer, as this could result in criminal charges, which can have prolonged negative impacts for the person that will far exceed the end of the pandemic,” Hampton added.

READ MORE: 12% of COVID-19 rule breakers in B.C. have paid their fines


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