The city will include increasing the number of RCMP members at the Campbell River detachment in their upcoming budget discussions. The detachment has not seen an increase in membership since 2007. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

The Campbell River RCMP detachment is calling for backup

Police force hasn’t seen a membership increase in a decade while population has increased 13 per cent

The local RCMP detachment needs more police, according to the business case presented to the city’s Committee of the Whole.

Included as part of the lead-up to council’s upcoming 2018-2027 Financial Planning sessions, the report says the RCMP detachment has not had an increase in its numbers since 2007 and the detachment is finding it “increasingly difficult to meet current service delivery expectations set by mayor and council.”

And since the last increase at the detachment, Campbell River’s population has increased by approximately 13.2 per cent.

“This population increase has placed growing demands on already stretched police resources,” the report says. “In particular, a lack of front-line police officers has made it extremely difficult to implement proactive crime reduction initiatives targeting public intoxication and alcohol-related crime & disorder occurring within Campbell River’s downtown core.”

The report not only cites an increasing “case burden” – the average number of criminal code cases investigated by each member – but also says this level has increased “at a time when the growing complexity and diversity of police investigations have placed further demands on police resources.”

“Even routine investigations which once took minutes now may take hours due to increased investigative requirements to meet the standard of proof for charge approval, mandatory reporting, technological advances and public demands for transparency and accountability,” the report continues.

The report also says the RCMP are also increasingly called upon to deal with “everything from lost property, noise complaints and school yard bullying through to cougar/bear sightings, neighbour disputes and dealing with Campbell River’s mentally ill and drug addicted population.

“In light of these growing workload demands it is prudent and necessary to increase authorized strength in order to overcome growing operational changes as well as to ensure Campbell River RCMP is better positioned to meet current and future service delivery expectations.”

The report says increasing membership at the local detatchment is also fiscally prudent, as officers have been increasingly required to work overtime, which costs the city much more in the long run than simply adding staff.

The business case gave three solutions to the issue at hand: increase the detachment by one member in 2019 as per the Municipal Police Agreement and create another position to begin in 2021, increase their numbers by two regular members in 2019 or increase the detachment by one regular member and create a Public Safety Coordinator position to report to the City Manager.

The business case recommended the first option, saying by spreading out the increases over several years, it will both cut back on the overtime being put in by officers – and the costs associated with that – by also limit the tax increases on local tax payers versus adding two officers immediately.

The recommendation will be added to the list of items being considered during the city’s financial planning, which is scheduled to begin Dec. 4.

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