NEWS RELEASE · 28th April 2010
Ministry of Public Safety
Police will now have another tool to fight gangs and organized crime thanks to new legislation that will prohibit operating an armoured vehicle without a permit and vehicles with 'after-market' hidden compartments, Solicitor General Michael de Jong, QC, announced today.
The Armoured Vehicle and After-market Compartment Control Act is part of Premier Gordon Campbell's seven-point plan to combat gang and gun violence.
"It's not unusual for gangs to modify their vehicles with armour and secret compartments as a way to protect themselves, conceal firearms, drugs or cash, and evade police," said de Jong. "We want the message to gangsters to be unequivocal: If you drive a bulletproof vehicle or one with a secret compartment that is added after purchase, you will pay a large fine and face possible jail time."
Highlights of the act include:
* Enhancing public safety by prohibiting anyone from operating armoured vehicles, except by regulated exemption or with a permit for legitimate purposes.
* Prohibiting the after-market installation of compartments in vehicles unless exempt by regulation.
* Requiring individuals seeking an armoured vehicle operation permit to prove reasonable need and undergo a criminal record check.
* Individuals found in contravention of this act will face a fine of up to $10,000 and six months imprisonment, upon conviction.
"Armoured passenger vehicles contribute to gang and gun violence by giving gang members a sense of safety and impunity while they commit their criminal acts," said Deputy Chief Constable Clayton Pecknold, president of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police. "This legislation will help police get these vehicles off our streets."
In February 2009, Premier Campbell announced a comprehensive seven point plan to tackle gangs and guns in B.C., including more police officers, more prosecutors, more jails and tougher laws to outlaw body armour and armoured vehicles. Since the strategy was unveiled, 207 organized crime and gang members have been arrested and charged with approximately 420 serious offences.