Surrey bars and restaurants move to lock out gang members

Eight businesses have so far signed up for the initial launch of Surrey's Inadmissible Patrons Program.

The bar watch program will allow RCMP to conduct bar checks

Eight bars and restaurants in Surrey will display the bar watch program's logo on their windows. (Shutterstock/Kondor83)

Surrey bars and restaurants are teaming up with the RCMP to keep suspected gang members from their premises.

Eight businesses have signed up for the initial launch of Surrey's Inadmissible Patrons Program, which allows RCMP under the B.C. Trespass Act to conduct bar checks and boot out anyone with ties to organized crime.

The businesses will all display logos on their windows. The program will also expand to major public events in Surrey and possibly other future businesses, RCMP said. 

The program signals to gang members that they're not welcome in Surrey, said RCMP Assistant Commissioner Dwayne McDonald.

Surrey's officer in charge, Dwayne McDonald, says there are several restaurants involved in the program, and that number is set to expand. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

"This program is deisgned to be subtle," said McDonald. "It's not designed for people to come in and drag people out of restaurants and cause any commotion or scene or embarrassment."

The program was modelled after the Vancouver Police Department's Restaurant Watch Program.

These logos will be displayed on the windows of restaurants participating in the program. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Curbing gang violence

The city has struggled with ongoing gang violence, including two teens who were killed in a targeted shooting over the summer.

The program is based on recommendations from a city task force report on gang violence prevention released last July.

Similar programs already exist in the Lower Mainland and Kelowna. Kamloops just launched its own version last week.

The programs have helped limit gang members access to popular bars and restaurants, the report said. 

"In turn, the glamour of gang life is diminished, and the community reinforces that gang behaviours will not be tolerated."