The Ashcroft RCMP detachment is about to get a new corporal position, bringing to six the number of general duty officers patrolling the area.
Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Roden said the additional police presence is good news for the area, which currently has just one sergeant and four constables for an area that stretches all the way to Venables Valley, east toward Savona, west to Pavilion, and north to 16 Mile House. There are also three members on traffic duty: a corporal and two constables.
A posting for the permanent corporal position is expected to go up shortly.
“It’s an extra body at the detachment, something we’ve been asking for a long time,” Roden said, adding work behind the scenes has paid off.
The village has been lobbying for the past two years for a new corporal, sending letters to BC Solicitor General and Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth, as well as meeting with the RCMP E Division about staffing levels at the local detachment. Council members also brought up the issue with Farnworth at the Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting this fall.
Roden said the village had been wanting a corporal, as the officer will bring enough experience to help ease the load on the sergeant and also be attractive to people who want to stay in the community. The extra officer is needed to help deal with an increase in petty crime, drug issues, and crimes of opportunity in the area.
She didn’t have specific numbers on how much crime has increased, noting the village has not had a permanent detachment commander for two years, but said they have seen a rise in the number of transients coming to the area.
“The rate of crime has been increasing but the staff has not,” she said, adding the new officer will boost the police presence by having another car on the road to help deter crime.
She also added the village has been struggling to find a permanent constable because there aren’t enough graduates to fill all the positions. The village has relied on floating constables, coming from elsewhere, but expects to have another permanent constable in place by December.
“It’s nice for stability, and having people live in the community.”