Thousands of volunteer hours lost to Central Okanagan RCMP due to pandemic | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Kelowna News

Thousands of volunteer hours lost to Central Okanagan RCMP due to pandemic

Kelowna RCMP media liason officer Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy poses in this undated photo.

One of the early victims of the COVID-19 pandemic was the suspension of community and auxiliary policing programs in the Central Okanagan.

All RCMP volunteer programs were put on hold in March, when the province was locked down, and have not been resumed. These included the Auxiliary Police and Citizens on Patrol programs.

“Volunteer programs operating in Kelowna require volunteers to access RCMP operational areas,” Kelowna RCMP communications officer Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy said in an email. “As we seek to reduce the number of people in the buildings, it was deemed these programs should remain on hold.

“In addition, the vast majority of Kelowna volunteers are seniors and therefore are among the population deemed a higher risk for getting severe COVID-19 disease, as such we felt it was too risky to continue to have volunteers remain active.”

Noseworthy did not indicate how many hours have been lost but a report to Kelowna city council last spring said there were more than 2,000 hours contributed by auxiliaries.

The Citizens on Patrol program operated out of six offices throughout the Central Okanagan.

The loss of these volunteers may not have had a big impact on police operations early in the pandemic as crime dropped off significantly and patrols were not needed at community events since those were cancelled.

READ MORE: Crime in Kelowna dropped during COVID-19

“It's impossible to attribute criminal activity stats to this suspension specifically,” Noseworthy wrote. “I can say that we miss our volunteers and we look forward to having them back once it's safe to do so. This suspension is under constant monitoring.”


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