What is the crime and safety committee in Oliver?
Well its a group of people meeting a couple of times a year to analyze what is happening and what can be done about it.
Today…..outgoing Police Superintendent Ted De Jager doing his ‘fair well’ to the South Okanagan and this particular committee with a message that I found compelling if not interesting.
An analysis of an intra government group in Penticton that seems to be working…. first some facts:
The program Community Active Support Table (CAST) – where the RCMP refers non-criminal cases to agencies that can really help with financial assistance, housing, drug addiction support and mental health intervention.
Would you believe that 60 percent of calls to police are for help – not to respond to criminal activity.
By having a group of professionals look at individual cases on a weekly basis – the amount of police time declines or more of the time of police officers can deal with actual criminals and incidents of true crime.
CAST has representatives from provincial ministries like welfare, social development, housing, corrections, parole service and school and municipal government. They meeting each week – which helps to keep current and relevant to the people that are referred to it and are helped.
The multi-agency approach can get help with 3 to 4 days. A criminal charge may take 6 months to a year to be resolved.
De Jager outlined the problem:
Mental Health, Addictions, Homelessness, and Chronic Social Issues that are plaguing our social today with so much pressure for POLICE to do something about it.
The Superintendent says the answer is quite simple. Police are called and respond to emergency situations but in the end – most incidents are about social issues for the community to solve – not arrests by police invoking the criminal justice system.
Penticton he says spends 8 million dollars on policing but are NOT getting the policing they need because officers have to respond to social issues.
Based on the budgets for cities, districts, towns and villages De Jager says only 8 to 10 police cars on patrol at any given time in the day 24/7 – 365. It should be many more ……….but social issues ramp up a response that takes an officer away from catching criminals.