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