Concerns about inadequate police coverage in rural areas will be sent to the Southern Interior Local Government Association via a resolution from the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District.
“My favourite topic,” said Falkland director René Talbot as discussion began.
“We supposedly have a detachment in Falkland, but nobody’s ever there. We have two officers and a constable but they’re so busy in Armstrong, so we’re left out.”
An irate Talbot, who has long sought an increase in police coverage for Falkland, said he had been told about a woman who, from the road she was on, heard a domestic dispute going inside a home, called 911, and waited for police for over an hour.
Talbot told directors many members of local RCMP detachments are on longtime disability.
“In one month, they had 39 sick days,” he said, noting it took police over an hour to respond to a serious accident. “It’s unbelievable. The rural areas suffer and that’s totally unacceptable.”
Happy to vote in favour of the motion, rural Sicamous director Rhona Martin said discussions about problems with rural policing have been going on at the CSRD board table for many years.
“It needs to be looked at,” she said.
“I know municipalities pay a lot, but we pay as well and we should get adequate coverage.”
Talbot pointed out Falkland had their own budget for policing, “but higher ups in the Vernon RCMP decided the budget should go to Vernon. They have money to run the (Falkland) detachment – but there’s never anybody there.”
If the regional district’s resolution on increased policing is endorsed by SILGA it will be sent on to the Union of BC Municipalities’ AGM, a move that does not instill Martin with confidence.
“When we go to UBCM we don’t have enough time or clout,” she said. “Maybe we need to go to Victoria with this.”
The board meanwhile will send an invitation to the superintendent and local RCMP detachment staff sergeants to speak to the board about communication and policing needs in electoral areas.