City council is considering changes that would increase the cost of criminal record checks and eliminate free checks for volunteers.
City staff are recommending council up the fee for criminal record checks from the current $40 to $50 and charge a $25 fee for those who require criminal record checks for volunteer work. For people who live in Campbell River but need a criminal record check for volunteer work outside of the city, the fee would go up to $50. Carrie Jacobs, the RCMP municipal manager, and Fern Peterson, police services clerk technician, wrote in a co-authored report to city council that the changes will help the service better pay for itself.
“The recommended changes to fees and charges are required to establish an equitable approach to funding the staff resources required to provide these services. Individuals or organizations who are requesting these services would be charged a fair rate rather than requiring the general public to bear the cost through taxation,” wrote Jacobs and Peterson. “The recommended rate adjustments for police support service fees and charges will generate sufficient revenue to self-fund the resources required to meet the demand of these services.”
The introduction of a fee for volunteer criminal record checks will speed up the process, according to Jacobs and Peterson.
“It will resolve the backlog of processing, provide an expedited service to volunteers at a subsidized fee, and assist in funding additional staff time which is imperative to ensure processing time remains reasonable, in order to provide the best service possible.”
The police department receives on average 12 paid and 22 volunteer criminal record check applications each week and current staff resources allow for approximately two applications per day (10 per week) to be processed.
“There are currently approximately 70 paid applications and 139 volunteer applications in various stages of processing for completion,” wrote Jacobs and Peterson. “There are approximately 115 applications currently waiting to be picked up by volunteer applicants of which 30 have had multiple calls for pick up, which is a cost to the city.”
In addition to criminal record checks, city staff are also recommending a $25 fee for fingerprinting as well as an increase from the current $50 fee to $75 (for the first hour) for information requiring research. Other increases being proposed are fees related to motor vehicle incidents and crime scenes which include: $35 for an accident scene report, $50 for a synopsis to ICBC, and $30 for a field diagram sketch.
City council, at its last committee of the whole meeting, couldn’t come to an agreement on whether or not to approve the recommended changes. A motion by Coun. Larry Samson to approve the changes but eliminate the $25 criminal record check fee for volunteers was defeated as was a motion by Mayor Andy Adams to charge a $10 fee. In the end, council agreed to take another look at the issue at its next committee of the whole meeting in late August.