May 13, 2013 - 4:46 PM
Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP have been dealing with a rise in criminal code investigations just as over 20 members went off duty or on restricted status.
In a first quarter report to Vernon city council, RCMP superintendent Reg Burgess said the first three months of 2013 have been challenging ones.
With between 23-28 members off duty or restricted, Burgess said service has been impacted.
"So far in the first quarter human resources was hurt significantly by quite a few injuries," Burgess said. "That put us in a position where we had to take plain clothes officers and move them (around). We had to move a downtown enforcement officer to take over a vacant spot on the domestic violence unit."
In another few weeks, Burgess expects to have six members added back in, which he hopes will allow operations to return to normal.
At the same time, the force has been handling a significant rise in investigations of serious crimes.
"This was largely due to a couple of teams of prolific offenders, (who) hit us hard with break and enters and thefts from vehicles," Burgess said.
In the month of January alone, there were 28 residential break and enters—18 more than last year.
Burgess says police have caught the groups responsible for the break and enters and predicts the crime rate will settle back to normal in the next quarter.
He said the detachment consists predominantly of senior officers, making the pool of expertise extremely rich. Some city councillors were concerned about a looming mass retirement.
"We have a relatively senior detachment," Burgess said, adding a lot of officers come here after putting their time in elsewhere. "A lot of our officers are ready to depart."
He said a trend of reduced crime, and consequently reduced demand for officers, is expected to continue.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013