An influx of bikers has reignited complaints about policing in Falkland, however the RCMP are defending themselves.
Rene Talbot, Columbia-Shuswap Regional District director, says there were numerous problems as people attending the Sturgis North motorcycle rally in Salmon Arm made their way through town.
“There were hundreds of bikes but zero policing,” said Talbot of last Friday and Saturday.
“I was standing downtown when one guy was doing a burnout on both lanes of the highway. He was totally out of control.”
Other problems included noise and speeding.
Talbot says residents called the police but it wasn’t until late Saturday that the highway patrol arrived in downtown Falkland.
“For two days they forgot about us.”
Last year, the North Okanagan RCMP initiated a rural unit where incidents in Falkland could be handled by officers on-call in Armstrong or Enderby.
“We’ve been told how great their new policing model was but nobody was here,” said Talbot.
“They took on a job but they aren’t doing it. I blame the people in Vernon (RCMP administration) who are supposed to be taking care of things.”
RCMP officials say they are aware of the motorcycle-related concerns in Falkland and the situation is currently being reviewed.
“We had several thousand motorcycles in the North Okanagan (because of Sturgis North) and virtually all communities had concerns with motorcycles,” said Insp. Jim McNamara, with the North Okanagan detachment.
McNamara says there were three complaints received from two individuals Friday and Saturday in Falkland related to motorcycle problems.
He also says highway patrol had officers in the Falkland area (which goes from past Monte Lake to Salmon River Road) all last week, including Friday and Saturday.
“They may not have been right in downtown Falkland but they were out there. It was an extremely busy weekend.”
Talbot has suggested Falkland go back to a free-standing detachment with designated officers, but McNamara says that would be a challenge as two of the three officers currently designated to the community are off on parental leave.
“In the old model, where Falkland was a stand-alone detachment, they would just have one member right now,” said McNamara.
“We have regular members working in the North Okanagan and they will respond to calls in Falkland.”