New report says dozens more RCMP officers are needed in Kelowna | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna News

New report says dozens more RCMP officers are needed in Kelowna

November 21, 2019 - 3:04 PM

Kelowna RCMP need to add 56 police officers and 28 civilians in the next five years, according to a report going to city council Monday. If that happens, it will cost around $10 million – based on today’s pay rates – just for the police officers.

The RCMP’s last five-year plan called for 35 officers between 2012 and 2017. The City did add a total of 40 officers since it came out.

The new report covers the 2020-2025 time frame and takes into account that about two million tourists visit the city, mostly in the summer.

Based on the 2019 cost of $173,000 per police officer, another 56 officers will cost $9.7 million.

Currently, 183 police officers are budgeted for the Kelowna detachment.

While some policing needs will be dealt with in the 2020 budget that goes to council next month, the City will work with the RCMP in 2020 to look at priorities and a funding strategy.

Some of the key points in the report include:

  • 117 per cent increase in suicide calls between 2014 and 2018.
  • 151 per cent increase in calls related to mental health.
  • 170 per cent increase in unwanted person calls.
  • 68 per cent increase in suspicious person calls.
  • General Duty officers have a much larger file load than their counterparts in other cities.
  • A significant number of calls from outside the city were handled by Kelowna RCMP.
  • Kelowna doesn’t have a community safety and well-being plan so different agencies operate in “silos” rather than collaborating.
  • It calls for more foot patrols to increase police visibility.
  • The detachment is currently under-resourced both in terms of officers and civilian staff
  • Average response times for Priority 1 calls are acceptable at eight minutes but 12 per cent of such calls are handled by a single officer, which creates safety and liability issues.
  • A new system needs to be developed so officers aren’t responding to minor calls.
  • General duty officers also have to deal with serious case files like internet child exploitation and fraud files because investigative units are understaffed.
  • The Domestic Violence Unit is given as an example. There are only two officers in the unit so they can only investigate the highest risk cases. The rest are handled by General Duty officers.
  • There is no comprehensive crime prevention plan.
  • The property crime rate is exceptionally high, driven by drug/addiction and homelessness.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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