London police responded to “reckless acts” during homecoming

Western Homecoming celebrations on Broughdale Ave., September 21, 2014. Photo courtesy of London Police Service.

London police officers were kept busy on the weekend, responding to a number of house parties while keeping an eye on the crowds on Broughdale Avenue during Western’s homecoming weekend.

This year marked Western’s 73rd homecoming weekend and the first event in two years without COVID-19 restrictions in place. According to the London Police Service, upwards of 7,000 people gathered on Broughdale and some neighbouring streets near Western University during the height of an unsanctioned event Saturday night. Several roads were closed throughout this time to ensure the safety of revellers during the event.

London officers, along with police from outside jurisdictions including Hamilton and York Region, were brought in to oversee the event which resulted in a number of charges, tickets and warnings being issued.

London police Chief Steve Williams said that, while most of the daytime crowds were cooperative, the evening crowds were rowdier and displayed behaviour he deemed “completely unacceptable” at times.

“This included reckless acts such as throwing beer cans at others – including our officers – damaging property, and jumping from rooftops and hydro polls, which had the potential to cause life-altering consequences. It is very fortunate that we did not see a more serious outcome to this event,” Williams said.

Several infractions were noted and citations issued, including:

• 22 Liquor Licence Control Act charges.
• 34 Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs).
• 162 Provincial warnings.
• 16 By-law warnings.
• Three Criminal Code charges (two outstanding warrants, one assault police).

Final financial costs associated with policing the event have yet to be determined, but Williams added that past years have turned out to be quite expensive. In 2018, policing costs associated with homecoming rose to more than $150,000.

“This is an enormous undertaking each year, and I am extremely proud of the work our officers, along with our partner agencies, did this weekend to ensure that the safety of those in attendance and of our entire community was maintained,” Williams said.