Kingston police target 'reckless' crowds during Queen's move-in week

Kingston police say thousands of "irresponsible revellers" near Queen's University over Labour Day weekend showed an "unconscionable" lack of consideration for the city's safety.

11 people fined for having parties with more than 100 people

Eleven people are facing charges under Ontario's Reopening Act for hosting parties with hundreds of people as part of Queen's University's orientation week. Pictured here is a similar party from earlier this summer, where three people were charged. (Kingston Police)

Kingston police say thousands of "irresponsible revellers" near Queen's University over Labour Day weekend showed an "unconscionable" lack of consideration for the city's safety.

Police charged 11 people within the university district under the Reopening Ontario Act and estimated the crowds there ranged from 3,500 to 5,000 people throughout the weekend. 

Under Step 3 of Ontario's reopening plan and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, parties larger than 100 people are not permitted. If convicted, a person can face a fine of between $10,000 and $100,000, as well as up to one year in jail time.

The 11 charges were part of a laundry list of charges and fines issued in conjunction with move-in week at Queen's University and detailed in a police news release.

Police respond to noise complaints, public intoxication

"The invasion of our streets and parks by irresponsible revellers shows a disappointing lack of maturity," said Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely in the release.

"The unsafe crowds and wanton and reckless behaviour place an inexcusable strain on resources for all community partners, whether police, by-law, paramedics, or hospital staff."

From Friday night to Tuesday morning, police were called to 106 noise complaints, three of which resulted in fines. Bylaw officers issued an additional 35 fines for noise, which all together totalled $7,000. 

One person was arrested and charged for public intoxication. Police issued 53 fines for open liquor and attended to seven Highway Traffic Act violations. 

In response to the weekend's events the Kingston Police Association tweeted that the situation was not safe or sustainable. 

"[Officers'] patience is pushed beyond limits with [Queen's University]. Our officers have had bottles thrown at them/been attacked and are outnumbered by 1000's," it tweeted. 

There are special rules in effect in the area now during the university's orientation week. Three times a year — during orientation, homecoming and on St. Patrick's Day — the City of Kingston, the police and the university partner under the University District Safety Initiative. 

The initiative aims to tackle the "unsafe and disruptive" behaviour, according to the City of Kingston. With the added risk the behaviours pose during the pandemic, noise or nuisance party fines are to be paid through the city instead of the province — and could come with a court summons to "account for their actions in person".

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