Similkameen politicians concerned about policing levels - InfoNews

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Similkameen politicians concerned about policing levels

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January 06, 2017 - 10:30 AM

PENTICTON - Low RCMP staffing levels at the Keremeos detachment have local politicians worried.

Keremeos mayor and Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen director Manfred Bauer approached the regional district board at the regular meeting yesterday, Jan.5, seeking a letter of support for requests to the RCMP for extra staffing at the Keremeos RCMP detachment.

Letters submitted to Solicitor General Mike Morris from the Village of Keremeos and the Lower Similkameen Indian Band cite high turnover, lack of service and long response times as reasons for requesting the RCMP bump the Keremeos detachment up one level of service by making it a sergeant run detachment.

Bauer told directors the detachment is currently managed by a corporal, limiting staffing to a maximum of four. When illness, holidays, training, transfer and career moves are taken into account, the detachment almost never has the full complement of members on duty.

He also noted the high staff turnover rates in the last three to five years impacted the community negatively because members did not have time to form relationships with the community.

Bauer described an instance last month in the village where a Keremeos couple waited 65 minutes for a police response to a man bashing on their door at 2:30 a.m.

Regional district chief administrative officer Bill Newell noted they had previously discussed a lack of policing in the rural communities, in addition to the opening of the Okanagan Correctional facility in Oliver later this month.

The board unanimously agreed to support the request to up the complement of RCMP officers in Keremeos.

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