Saanich Police are calling on parents and children to work together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 after a video over the weekend showed a large youth gathering.
Officers were called to Northridge Elementary School around 10:51 p.m. on Friday night for a noise complaint involving around 20 to 30 people.
At around 11 p.m. more reports came in stating that the group had grown to over 100 people and had moved into nearby streets.
Callers also said that the group had become aggressive and was damaging private property.
Police arrived at approximately 11:10 p.m. and saw large groups of youths gathered on Carey Rd.
Officers talked to the group and learned that weapons including a baton and a knife had been brandished by one of the youths.
It is believed that this individual had also been at the site of the original complaint—Northridge Elementary School— while carrying these weapons.
The officers were then flagged down by a resident who provided additional information about the suspected weapon and shared concerns about the youth gathering.
Police say the gathering eventually broke up and its members left the area, while officers remained on scene to speak to residents.
Saanich PD are still investigating, however no charges have been laid at this time.
Cst. Markus Anastasiades says that there are currently no bylaws prohibiting gatherings of this nature, and police are only investigating potential charges of mischief or possession of prohibited weapons.
He says that at this point it is up to individuals to respect the recommendations of health authorities and professionals.
“At the end of the day, we have a reminder to parents that this would be a good time to sit down with their children and talk about how important their actions are during this pandemic,” Anastasiades said in a phone call with Victoria Buzz.
He also added that the incident does not represent a trend and police have not seen an unusual spike in these types of gatherings.
“This is just one particular group. The majority are doing a fantastic job. We see examples of that every day.”
Residents who witnessed the incident on Friday night are asked to provide statements to Saanich Police at (250) 475-4321.