Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and Pub­lic Safety as­sured by RCMP there won’t be re­duc­tion in ser­vice

Northern Pen - - Front page - Stephen.roberts@north­ern­pen.ca

“And how this change to hub­bing is go­ing to re­sult in risks to pub­lic safety and as well as risks to po­lice of­fi­cers, and it’s all done in the name of sav­ing a few bucks,” said Sauvé.

Ac­cord­ing to Sauvé, “hub­bing” isn’t un­fa­mil­iar across Canada. But, he says, usu­ally it is done when there is a lack of man­power.

This is not the case with the four Great North­ern Penin­sula de­tach­ments.

There are cur­rently four of­fi­cers sta­tioned in St. Anthony, three in Rod­dick­ton-Bide Arm, three in Flow­ers Cove and five in Port Saunders. All are fully staffed.

Sauvé says, as a mem­ber of the pub­lic, to him the in­creased re­sponse times cre­ated would be “unac­cept­able”.

He says it puts staff at a greater risk.

Of­fi­cers will have to drive faster to reach their des­ti­na­tions, all with the pos­si­bil­ity of bad weather, es­pe­cially dur­ing the win­ter, and strik­ing wildlife such as moose and cari­bou.

“If it that means go­ing 115 km/h in bad weather, at night, with the risk of wildlife strikes, your chances as a po­lice of­fi­cer of putting your­self in dan­ger and not ar­riv­ing, are greater,” he said.

This was also a con­cern for may­ors. “Some­body has to step back and ask what pub­lic safety is worth in this com­mu­nity and are we will­ing to spend that money,” added Sauvé.

An­drew Par­sons, Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and Pub­lic Safety, told The North­ern Pen he’s been as­sured by the RCMP there won’t be a re­duc­tion in ser­vice.

“We still have the same num­ber of of­fi­cers, work­ing the same num­ber of hours,” he said.

“This is more about af­ter hours.

“Po­lice of­fi­cers who are on call af­ter hours, they’ll start us­ing neigh­bour­ing de­tach­ments to re­spond to call for ser­vice af­ter hours.”

Ac­cord­ing to Par­sons, RCMP as­sis­tant com­mis­sioner Peter Clark is hop­ing to have some pres­ence at the Great North­ern Penin­sula’s Joint Coun­cil meet­ing, sched­uled for May 26.

He says this would be to pro­vide more con­text and in­for­ma­tion to mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers.

RCMP clar­i­fi­ca­tion

In a state­ment to The North­ern Pen, the RCMP stressed that the changes will not im­pact reg­u­lar shifts at ei­ther of the de­part­ments

The “hub­bing” will just be for af­ter hours calls.

It added that call vol­umes are low on the Great North­ern Penin­sula dur­ing th­ese hours.

There­fore, the like­li­hood of a po­lice re­sponse to a neigh­bour­ing de­tach­ment will also be low.

Of­fi­cers, it was stated, will re­spond with back-up al­ready avail­able if needed and will be able to plan their ap­proach to the sit­u­a­tion while on route.

“If there is par­tic­u­larly poor weather con­di­tions an­tic­i­pated the de­tach­ments will have con­tin­gency plans to man­age a lo­cal re­sponse,” the state­ment added. Ac­cord­ing to the RCMP, the de­ci­sion to hub the de­tach­ments was “ev­i­dence based.”

It said that costs for on-call over­time ex­ceeded the avail­able bud­get.

This in­formed their de­ci­sion to “hub” the de­part­ments, as well as other con­sid­er­a­tions.

“But one can­not look at bud­get in iso­la­tion – there were other im­por­tant de­ci­sion mak­ing con­sid­er­a­tions, pri­mar­ily con­cerns around work life bal­ance, the abil­ity of our po­lice of­fi­cers to avail of va­ca­tion time, their abil­ity to be away from their home de­tach­ment ar­eas when not on reg­u­lar duty etc.,” read the state­ment.

“The health and well­be­ing of our of­fi­cers is paramount.

“This ap­proach to en­sure ef­fec­tive po­lice ser­vices for the North­ern Penin­sula, bal­anced with the well­be­ing of our po­lice of­fi­cers and our re­sources to de­liver ser­vices, will be eval­u­ated over time.”

“Some­body has to step back and ask what pub­lic safety is worth in this com­mu­nity and are we will­ing to spend that money,”

“We still have the same num­ber of of­fi­cers, work­ing the same num­ber of hours,”

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