Seven years after the last review of police resources in Kelowna was completed, the city wants to put together a new plan.
City council will be asked Monday to approve development of a five-year police services resourcing plan to not only look at what level of policing is needed now but also to review how the city has fared since it acted on the recommendations of the last review, completed in 2012.
Then, consultant Robert Prosser concluded the city’s RCMP detachment was critically understaffed and 22 additional officers were needed to ease what was one of the highest caseloads per officer in the country.
Prosser’s report also concluded there was a need for the city to invest more resources in pro-active crime reduction strategies to reduce crime, including drug offences.
The city added the additional officers over a three-year period and while the city’s current top cop, Supt. Brent Mundle, has reported a drop in the overall crime rate in Kelowna in recent years, some areas have remained problematic, particularly property crime and drug-fuelled offences downtown.
That, coupled with a growing perception downtown Kelowna was no longer a safe place, prompted Mundle to deploy more officers there and initiate several initiatives to try and stop crime before it occurs.
The city also hired Mundle’s predecessor, former Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon, to look at what measures should be taken to tackle crime downtown. McKinnon’s made a number of short and long-term recommendation but said first and foremost, the city should take more of a leadership role in dealing with the growing drug problem in Kelowna.
If council approves the recommendation for a new five-year police resourcing plan at its meeting on Monday, a consultant will be hired to do the work, said deputy city manager Joe Creron.
“As part of this assignment, we expect among other things a status report on how we performed over the last five years with respect to the Prosser Report recommendations, how the environment has changed and what we need to consider to address these new challenges, the impact on service delivery with the placement of the RCMP Auxiliary on hold and best management practices that need to be considered for implementation over the next five years,” he said.
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