Victoria police redeploy officers from special units to overcome staff shortfalls

Victoria police redeploy officers from special units to overcome staff shortfalls
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The Victoria Police Department says that it is redeploying officers from multiple special units to its Patrol Division in order to help cover staff shortages on the frontline.

“When our public are phoning 9-11 and they’re asking for the police for help for an emergency, our officers need to be available,” VicPD Chief Del Manak told CHEK News.

A total of seven officers from the Capital Regional District Integrated Road Safety Unit (CRD-IRSU), the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit-BC (CFSEU-BC), and the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) are being redeployed as of November 7, meaning that no VicPD officers will remain with any of the three integrated units for the near future.

“It’s a concern that the Victoria Police Department will no longer be participating in these groups, but I have every confidence that these units are staffed with other agency partners and tehy’ll be able to continue with their mandate,” said Manak.

According to Victoria Police, the department is currently shorthanded with officers injured — both physically and psychologically — and the department is experiencing a strain on servicing the community due to the recent volume, complexity and severity of calls.

At total strength, VicPD says it has 249 officers, however, 39 are currently unable to work on the frontline for various reasons including physical and psychological injuries, while an additional 17 officers are non-deployable as they undertake various stages of training.

VicPD says the reason for the staff redeployment is to better meet public expectations regarding the department’s ability to respond to service calls.

“We’ve reached critical staffing shortages on our frontlines,” said Del Manak. “Recent measures to address frontline resource shortfalls include the 2018 reassignment of six officers – including our three school liaison officers, an intelligence officer, our reserve program officer and a beat officer – to our Patrol Division, and the 2019 disbandment of VicPD’s Crime Reduction Unit (CRU).”

Victoria mayor Lisa Helps says she supports the decision.

“It’s not an ideal decision. It’s a temporary decision but it’s what’s necessary to respond to the needs of the public,” said Helps, who also serves on the Police Board.

The seven officers moving to Victoria’s front lines will have a ripple effect on other police forces around the region.

“It has yet to be sorted out exactly what will happen, but we discussed yesterday there will be additional demands here,” said Fred Haynes, mayor of Saanich.

“When we remove officers from these integrated units, there’s no doubt there’s some gaps left for these integrated units,” said Manak.

The department adds that future organizational changes may occur in an effort to address the demands on available resources as well.

A review of these seven transfers will take place over the next year to assess if staffing resources allow for these assignments to be restored.

“I would say that it could be upwards of a year before we see these officers return back to these integrated units,”  said Del Manak. “I’m hoping it’s less than that.”


Kevin CharachKevin Charach

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