Following the announcement of a projected $10.7-million budget shortfall in the B.C. RCMP’s provincial budget, local detachments say quality of rural policing will not waver.
The RCMP’s provincial budget covers integrated units such as homicide investigation, traffic and forensics, as well as rural policing. Director of B.C. RCMP communications Dawn Roberts emphasized that the cuts are still just a projection, and the first things on the chopping block are travel expenses, overtime, non-mandatory training and new equipment.
“I really do believe that the general public is not going to notice a change in the way police services are delivered in their communities because we have no intention of compromising public safety,” Roberts said.
The travel expenses that stand to be cut refer to out-of-province travel and would not have an impact on response to calls in rural areas.
Roberts went on to say detachments throughout the province have been aware of this potential challenge for months and have had time to prepare.
Staff Sgt. Scott West of the Salmon Arm RCMP detachment confirmed the services offered will remain the same.
“The additional steps we are being asked to take primarily deal with administrative costs or discretionary spending, and no services or programs have been reduced or changed,” West wrote in an email. “Every effort is being made to ensure frontline services and operations are not impacted.”
West also said the potential budget decrease would not impact service to residents of the City of Salmon Arm as the city funds municipal police officers under contract, separate from provincial policing budgets.