B.C.’s top cop says the RCMP will bring a business approach to setting its crime fighting agenda under her leadership.
Brenda Butterworth-Carr, deputy commissioner of the B.C. RCMP, says she approaches her job in the same way any CEO of a major corporation would.
“I think the general public thinks of us as a service provider, but the reality is we are responsible for a $1.3 billion budget and have 10,000 employees providing the service of public safety to communities across the province.
“Yes, we are a unique business but we are absolutely a business.
“We have to be responsible for our financial investment and see dividend returns on that investment through community safety objectives being met.”
If those objectives aren’t being met, Butterworth-Carr says the RCMP need to rethink its priorities on a provincial or local community scale and look to partner with government and community agencies.
“We have to start looking at how we do things differently. Collaboration is very important. We just can’t try to be everything to everybody,” she said.
Butterworth-Carr made her comments as the keynote speaker at the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce luncheon today at the Coast Capri Hotel.
She talked about the RCMP crime reduction priorities being focused on enhanced public safety, gangs and guns, opioids and road safety.
She said the B.C. RCMP have engaged in discussions with community leaders across the province to get feedback on policing concerns, and better access how the RCMP can be most effective with the available resources.
She also talked about the importance about working conditions for all her staff, touching on mental health issues her officers can face and inequities in the salary structure of RCMP compared to municipal police.
“We paid out $75 million in overtime last year which is a staggering amount of money,” Butterworth-Carr said.
“I don’t want our people to be in the business of constant burn-out. Whether it is a detachment of four or 400, we need to establish a baseline of service and give our people the tools and resources to meet those objectives.”
Butterworth-Carr said funding is a topic of discussion with the provincial government currently which she hopes to see some results that address current RCMP resource shortfalls in the next 18 to 24 months.
With regards to crime in the Central Okanagan, she said statistics indicate a downward trend in personal crime and an upward climb in property crime.
“We continue to do exceptionally well at the Kelowna detachment level and the Southeast District region, but we face resource challenges with staff on administrative leave and shuffling in and out new recruits and seasoned police officers from across Canada,” she said.
West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater attended the luncheon and raised three issues to Butterworth-Carr that reflect concerns for his community.
Those issues were West Kelowna having to absorb the costs both for RCMP services within the Westbank First Nation reserve and Big White Ski Resort, and unionization which he called “the elephant in the room.”
Butterworth-Carr didn’t have specific answers for his concerns, but indicted conditions in the workplace remain a top priority for her and spreading resources too thin in various Interior regions are matters for ongoing discussion.
Kelowna-based website operator Janice Taylor also raised the issue of cyber victimization of youth through social media, asking how that fit into the RCMP’s crimefighting priorities.
While the topic was not mentioned in her presentation, Butterworth-Carr acknowledged the growing significance of cyber crime as technology continues to evolve.
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