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North Okanagan RCMP deliver report card on priorities over 2019-2022

The North Okanagan’s top cop delivered a police report card at a public meeting in the Enderby area on Wednesday.

Supt. Shawna Baher shared where her officers met their goals over the last four years and where they fell short.

Many of the targets relate back to the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP’s 2019-2022 priorities which were enhanced public safety, community connections, and road safety.

On the road safety front, a 2.1 per cent increase in the traffic contacts made by police was considered a win.

Baher emphasized that the goal of traffic stops is not to generate revenue through fines but to stop dangerous behaviour.

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She said police traffic contacts don’t always mean a ticket is issued but can include warnings.

Given the area’s growing population, police see it as a positive that the number of calls for service increased by 1.49 per cent to 2022 from 2019.

“Ultimately, our goal is to reduce the calls for service to the police because if we can reduce the calls for service that means that people feel safer. They are not having to report things to the police,” Baher said.

“In relation to a four-year growth cycle where we have had extensive growth, we were actually able to only increase by a small percentage which I think is a success.”

Baher also framed the 8.1 per cent drop in criminal charges between 2019 and 2022 as a success.

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“That’s a win, right? We are not charging as many people so hopefully, we are getting people the help that they need,” she said.

Police didn’t meet their goal of seeing a drop in criminal code-related offences. They went up more than 4 per cent between 2019 and 2022.

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“I think we could do better. We are trying,” Baher said.

The details came as police hosted a public forum in the Enderby area to get community input on what police priorities should be for the regional detachment’s upcoming five-year strategic plan.

Among the concerns raised by residents were problems with hazardous driving and delays in getting crime reports to officers on the ground.

Police say calls do have to be prioritized, but resident feedback will inform the North Okanagan RCMP’s future priorities.

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The new strategic plan is expected to come out in the spring. The Enderby meeting is the only public event the RCMP is planning to collect public feedback.

“[A town hall meeting] really hasn’t been before as part of our strategic plan where we’ve gotten stakeholders together,” said media relations officer Cst. Chris Terleski.

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“It is just kind of a new approach we are trying out because what you will hear from maybe organizations or politicians may be different from somebody who wants to come forward and bring an issue that’s affecting them or their neighbourhood.”

Terleski said if members of the public want to weigh in on the strategic plan they can contact the detachment directly.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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