Police plead for more resources to curb crime
South Peace News
Local police commanders are pleading for more community resources to curb serious crime and aid police.
RCMP detachments based in Peace River, High Prairie and McLennan, along with Lakeshore Regional Police Service all recorded a crime severity index rating higher than the provincial and national averages.
Lakeshore is demanding more officers.
“In order to address this and ensure proper community and officer safety, we would require four more frontline police officers,” says Dale Cox, chief of police since the service was established in 2008.
Lakeshore currently has eight constables, two sergeants and two inspectors under the chief of police.
“Our investigators are involved in more serious and complex investigations, which require more of their time on each investigation,” Cox says.
He says more officers would increase service that covers the Driftpile Cree Nation, Sucker Creek First Nation, Kapawe’no First Nation, Swan River First Nation, all east of High Prairie, and Sawridge First Nation in Slave Lake.
The rating calculated by Statistics Canada sets a certain score to each crime type with the more serious crimes getting a higher score.
“More serious crimes also end up requiring more police officer resources and time to properly investigate,” says Cox, who provided initial information on the CSI.
High Prairie RCMP S/Sgt. Warren Wright says more health and social services in the community are required to help many of the people who end up on the wrong side of the law.
“The RCMP works in co-operation with a number of our partners to work towards lowering the crime severity index,” Wright says.
“The High Prairie area needs an increase in wrap-around community resources to effectively address the problems that lead to an increased crime severity index.”
He stresses the region requires more resources to deal with mental health, addictions counselling and treatment, healthcare services, social services, probation, employment, the courts and policing.
Peace Regional RCMP Sgt. Dave Browne agrees.
“Efforts to reduce the CSI of our detachment area would be benefited by an increase in capacity of our community partners and resources to effectively respond to the complex social challenges that contribute to the CSI, such as mental health, addictions and domestic violence prevention services, among others,” Browne says.
“Some of the partnerships that our detachment has formed with community groups such as our community advisory committee and regional Crime Watch and Citizens on Patrol groups are an effort to lower the impact and severity of crime in our area.”
Police officers work hard in the community to build strong and positive working relationships with partner agencies and community groups to help address service delivery gaps where they exist, Browne says.
“Many of our members also volunteer in the community with a variety of organizations, in an effort to shore up those service delivery gaps where they exist,” Browne says.
McLennan RCMP Sgt. Mark Hall has no concerns about the rating.
“McLennan detachment’s current operating contingent in partnership with K-Division Western Alberta District is sufficient to make positive, impactful solutions to crime in the area,” Hall says.
He says he plans to make further comments when the CSI figures for 2020 are scheduled to be released in July.
Index 2019 Averages
(Most Recent Statistics)
Lakeshore Regional Police Services 249.9
High Prairie RCMP 240.9
Peace Regional [Town of Peace River] 217.8
Peace Regional [rural] 162.7
McLennan RCMP 128.7
Faust RCMP 128.0