Kelowna council was shocked during this week’s meeting (Feb. 28) after hearing about the apparent backlog of property crime charges awaiting review by the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS).
In a review of crime statistics for 2021 RCMP Superintendent Kara Triance told council 78 per cent of charges sent to the BCPS still have not been assessed. She added the total number of charges for the year, including violence, mischief, and other offences, was 3,358 with 2,675 awaiting assessment, or nearly 80 per cent.
“That is unreal,” said Mayor Colin Basran. “I’d be defeated to come to work every day. That is unbelievable.”
Supt. Triance said the backlog works against trying to hold somebody accountable for their actions.
“You arrest somebody on Friday with a stolen firearm, stolen property, perhaps illicit substances, and by Monday they’re back out on the streets able to commit crimes,” she said. “It becomes impossible to stay on top of that significant calls for service.”
She also indicated that the BCPS is at full capacity.
“Absolutely, that is a resourcing issue for their teams,” she said. “I want to highlight the excellent work individuals within the service are doing, but there’s only so much work that a team can do without enhanced resources.”
Triance added the Kelowna area has a slightly higher criminal charge approval rate, at 90 per cent, compared to 83 per cent for the rest of the province.
Capital News reached out to the BC Prosecution Service for comment.