Premier David Eby took to Nanaimo to announce a network of regional hubs to combat the growing issue of violent crime and repeat offenders in British Columbia.
Starting in May, 12 new hubs will open in cities around the province that combine the services and expertise of police, prosecutors and probation officers.
On Vancouver Island, hubs will open in Victoria and Nanaimo, where much has been made of a spike in reported violent incidents.
The new initiative will see dedicated teams of police, crown prosecutors, and probation officers work side-by-side to monitor cases involving prolific offenders. Together, they’ll advise one another on how best to handle the cases, from initial investigation through to the court process and subsequent community supervision in cases of release and probation.
The other major hubs announced today will be in Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Abbotsford, Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Prince George, Williams Lake and Terrace.
“These regional hubs are just one measure in our safer communities action plan, in addition a new specialized investigation and targeted enforcement program (SITE) will be rolling out soon, that will boost resources to help police with investigations and targeted enforcement of repeat violent offenders. It will also make police collaboration across communities and jurisdiction more efficient,” said Eby.
Wednesday’s announcement comes in the wake of an uptick in violent crime that has left residents in Victoria, Nanaimo and other major B.C. cities deeply unsettled.
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As near as I can tell, this entire Nanaimo event today boils down to a previously-announced prolific offender hub, a paltry $75,000 funding bump to existing programs and a promise to work with council on the future.
— Rob Shaw (@RobShaw_BC) April 12, 2023
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Most recently in Nanaimo, there have been multiple arsons, including one where a car was set on fire at a local dealership.
Additionally, an RCMP Officer has blown the whistle on a dysfunctional work environment from within the municipalities federally funded police force.
Earlier this year, Eby said that the province needed to reform Canada’s bail system and while speaking at a news conference March 7 said B.C. residents are “very frustrated — and rightly so — with the small group of repeat, violent offenders” who are “cycling in and out” of the justice system.