RCMP staffing levels returning to normal as Penticton detachment presses for more officers | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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RCMP staffing levels returning to normal as Penticton detachment presses for more officers

The head of Penticton RCMP's new Community Support and Enforcement team was introduced to city council at today's council meeting, Nov. 7, 2017, during a police briefing of the latest quarterly report.
November 07, 2017 - 5:30 PM

PENTICTON - The Penticton RCMP detachment is returning to normal personnel numbers following a busy summer of staff deployment on firefighting duties this summer.

Penticton RCMP Superintendent Ted De Jager told city council staffing for the detachment is returning to full strength after losing up to 10 per cent of the detachment to firefighting efforts.

He said the detachment was also in the process of requesting additional members for the Penticton rural areas of Okanagan Falls, Kaleden and Naramata, and two more members for the South Okanagan.

The detachment’s new Community Support and Enforcement team lead officer, Cpl. Laurie Rock, was introduced to council. De Jager said the team has two mandates, with a community health side headed by community mental health officer, Const. James Grandy.

De Jager said a youth officer position will be created at a future date.

Rock will also be in charge of Penticton’s two community response officers, in charge of traffic, and two First Nations policing positions.

De Jager presented quarterly police statistics to council, noting Penticton was experiencing a general increase in property crime, a trend taking place throughout the province.

“Overall, property crime in the regional area has gone up 10 per cent. The good news is violent crime has gone down three per cent. From a policing perspective, if we look at some of the events that have been going on in the southeast division such as the shootings in Kamloops last week, those are things we really have to target, that violent crime,” he said.

De Jager noted the break and enter - other category had risen substantially over the same period last year as thieves targeted outbuildings and sheds, calling it a more common occurrence in summer.

De Jager said education would play a big role in reducing that number.

“What’s troubling is the increase in Penticton’s case, as opposed to the regional district, is the 28 per cent increase in auto theft," he said. “Auto theft is one of those crimes where they are entirely preventable, through ignition interlock or cutoff device, or by putting the car in the garage. That’s one thing we really want to focus on. The deductible one would pay for having a car stolen once would pay for an ignition kill switch. That’s the type of information we want to get out to people."

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