The Port Alberni RCMP is asking for $6.7 million from the city budget again this year, according to Inspector Mac Richards. That cost is in line with the detachment’s requests in other years—$7M in 2015 and $6.1M in 2014.
“Progress is being made in reducing crime and in some areas the detachment is doing better than what B.C. as a province is doing—however, there is still a long way to go,” said Richards.
“Specifically in violent crime, we’ve moved from 10th in Canada in 2013 to 26th in Canada.”
Richards said that Port Alberni still has its challenges.
“Port Alberni is one of, if not the busiest detachments on the Island.”
The detachment averages approximately 10,000 files a year, he added.
Of the city’s 33 officers, three are supervisors, 19 are on general duty, six are allocated to general investigations including the domestic violence officer and the remaining five are split between traffic, forensic identification, police dogs, crime prevention and youth.
Richards said that plans were in place to upgrade the detachment to 34 officers while only billing the city for 33 to allow for less overtime and a more efficient force.
The RCMP is also supported by 14.5 full-time equivalent municipal employees.
Richards highlighted the RCMP’s community policing initiative.
“One of the initiatives put into place centres around the community policing programs and volunteers,” he said, adding that the program allows for a “sustained and impactful response to crime.”
Other initiatives included the creation of specific youth and domestic violence officers.
“A police officer [position] has been created to focus on youth who have been identified as high risk and aren’t connecting with services that they need,” Richards said.
“A violence and relationship position was created to better address domestic violence and its impacts on people and on the community.”
The detachment has also created a mental health strategy “to connect those in need with the services they need.”