Date: Thursday, February 9, 2023
Victoria, BC – Today, a VicPD firearms trainer and expert, along with Community Engagement Division staff, hosted a unique, hands-on event with local media to underscore the similarities in real and replica firearms seized by VicPD officers.
Officers continue to seize both real and replica firearms at an average rate of two per week in Victoria and Esquimalt. These items are often paired together and officers must respond to each weapon as though they are a fully functional firearm.
A sample of firearms seized
Between January 1 and December 31, 2022, VicPD officers seized a total of 99 real and replica firearms. Of those, 57 per cent were real, functional firearms. VicPD officers seized an average of four functional firearms each month – more than one per week.
Officers have seized a total of 510 real and replica firearms over a five-year period. In 2018 and 2019, real firearms outnumbered replicas. This trend reversed in 2020, with a significant increase in replica firearms being seized. In 2021 – the year the most combined real and replica firearms were seized – officers were as likely to be faced with a real firearm as they were a replica firearm.
January 2023 saw a significant increase over the average of five real and four replica firearms seized each month. Last month, officers seized 11 real and 8 functional firearms – more than twice the annual monthly average.
“Our officers regularly discover both realistic replicas and functional firearms alongside each other on the same call. This means they have to make split-second, life or death decisions on how they respond to a person in possession of a potentially deadly weapon. More than half the time, that gun is real and often, they are loaded,” says VicPD Chief Del Manak.
Today’s media event gave reporters an opportunity that officers often don’t have – the time and environment to make a decision without potentially life-threatening consequences. They were invited into a safe, controlled environment to observe, examine, handle and cycle a series of firearms under the guidance of a VicPD firearms expert. After a 15-minute hands-on opportunity with the firearms, the reporters were asked to identify which firearms were real and which were replicas.
Cst. Kale Howe walks Jack Knox through safe handling procedures in our hands-on “real or replica” event
If you have information about firearms in your community, please call the VicPD Report Desk at (250) 995-7654 extension 1. To report what you know anonymously, please call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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