Kelowna will have 20 new RCMP officers on the streets within the next three months.
The information was contained in the 2022 Q2 and Q3 report presented to city council Nov. 28 by Superintendent Kara Triance. She noted that 23 new officers have already been added so far this year, bringing the current detachment complement to 222.
Triance also told council she would like to see the detasking of her officers so that they have more time to focus on priority service calls.
“In order to provide better service to the community and to make sure the RCMP is the best agency to respond,” said Kara Triance, officer in charge of the Kelowna detachment.
Triance noted that there was a 72 per cent increase in overdose calls for service during the reporting period. She said other calls such as a well-being check, or person in crisis, might be better handled by a healthcare professional.
“When you call 911 they ask if you need police, fire, or ambulance. I would argue that you also need a health response.”
Triance said she expects information might be coming from Interior Health on a co-respondent model, with an officer and a healthcare professional, after recent announcements from the provincial government. Work is being done around the assessment of service calls that come into response operators, Triance added.
“Every time we take some of those calls for service off a police officer, perhaps we can free up an office to respond to a call for crime.”
The report also noted a nearly 92 per cent in robbery (theft with violence or intimidation) which is up by 33 cases. That trend was also seen across the province. Overall, the city is trending downwards in violent crimes against persons, while provincial reporting shows an upward trend in this same category.
Other statistics for 2022 Q2 and Q3:
- domestic violence cases declined in Q2 (-19 per cent) and Q3 (-34 per cent);
- a 38 per cent increase in break-and-enter (Business) in Q2 and a 35 per cent increase in Q3 compared to the same timeframes in 2021;
- shoplifting in 2022 is down 18 per cent overall while fraud has also seen a decrease since August;
- bike theft increased 85 per cent and 41 per cent in Q2 and Q3.
Triance then addressed questions about prolific offenders from council and pointed out that 80 percent of property crime is committed by 20 percent of repeat offenders.
“Kelowna RCMP remains committed to reducing property crime in our community,” she said. “We need all crime reported to RCMP no matter how small.”