RCMP on St. Patrick’s Day patrol

NANAIMO – In spite of local cell shortage, RCMP will be out in force for St. Patrick's Day.

Anyone who imbibes a wee touch too much green beer this St. Patrick’s Day weekend will run afoul of Mounties instead of leprechauns offering three wishes.

St. Patrick’s Day falls on Sunday (March 17), which could curtail partying for people who have to go to work the following day, but Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said police will be out in force and on the lookout for partiers who overdo it on the weekend.

“Often there is over-imbibing, private parties and parties going on in liquor establishments,” he said. “We want to remind people to be responsible and have fun, but we’ll be out in full force and we’ll be having a firm, but fair presence.”

While Mounties have keeping the peace under control, finding a place to put prisoners is no problem either, O’Brien promises, in spite of the Nanaimo RCMP detachment cells currently undergoing $800,000 of renovations to upgrade them to new safety standards.

“We are an extremely active detachment, so we’ve been utilizing Ladysmith and other detachment areas within central Vancouver Island,” he said.

O’Brien said transporting prisoners to other communities is taxing and time consuming, but the public can be assured that while the RCMP is committed to transporting prisoners, holiday schedules for regular members have been altered and reserve constables have also been pressed into transportation duty to help maintain a full police presence in Nanaimo.

Components of Nanaimo’s cells are being removed that could allow prisoners to fashion crude weapons or provide ways to harm themselves.

Bunks, doors, door grating, plumbing and anything with sharp edges is being removed and changed. The cells are also being redesigned for improved prisoner observation by detachment staff.

The work should be completed by late May.