The money will help fill vacancies, the Province says
By Diego Flammini
British Columbia’s new premier is committed to ensuring adequate levels of law enforcement in rural, remote and Indigenous communities.
Premier David Eby announced an investment of $230 million over three years ($76.7 million per year) to help support rural police detachments in communities of less than 5,000 people.
The investments will help RCMP units achieve staffing levels of 2,602 officers, hire additional officers in specialized units and create a strong foundation to address anti money-laundering issues.
The funding will also support “a wide variety of specialized teams that investigate and prevent complex, violent and organized crimes,” a Nov. 23 release says.
The funding is part of Premier Eby’s Safer Communities Action Plan, which is designed to step up law enforcement efforts and provide intervention and support services.
Law enforcement representatives have seen increases in rural property crime.
In January 2022, for example, the Prince George RCMP indicated it witnessed a 22 per cent increase in rural property crime since October 2021.
And a 2019 study from Statistics Canada showed the rural crime rate was 23 per cent higher than the urban crime rate.
“Many Canadians share this perception: compared with their urban counterparts, rural residents are, overall, more likely to be satisfied with their personal safety and to believe that crime is lower in their neighbourhood than elsewhere in Canada,” the study says.
B.C. community leaders support the policing investment.
More available officers help ensure community safety, said Leonard Krog, mayor of Nanaimo.
“As a medium-sized municipality with more than 102,000 people, we will benefit from the regional resource, BC Highway Patrol and provincial specialized investigative team increases, which means faster response times for people in trouble, for businesses in need and for reviving public confidence in our public-safety system,” he said in a statement.