The Lloydminster RCMP is aiming to hand out five per cent more traffic tickets in 2015-2016, as well as hire four new plainclothes officers and establish a single policing jurisdiction.
These are elements included in the RCMP’s annual strategic plan “to assist the City of Lloydminster in becoming a world-class city through crime-reduction strategies,” which Insp. Suki Manj presented to city council at its June 22 meeting.
RCMP objectives for 2015-2016 are to reduce property crime by five per cent, increase possession for the purpose of trafficking investigation by five per cent and increase traffic tickets by five per cent. The police also plan to create and implement new crime-reduction initiatives. The planning process included consultative meetings, public opinion surveys, internal surveys and statistical analyses.
“That came directly from our consultation with the community,” Manj said regarding the increase in traffic tickets. “It was very evident that they want police officers to be enforcing traffic laws in the city.”
The RCMP say its “next steps” are to maintain community partnerships, continue developing new crime reduction systems and “educate the public and partner agencies.” They also hope to “meet with elected provincial officials to establish singular jurisdiction” and add four new plainclothes officers.
Manj says operating in both Alberta and Saskatchewan results in approximately 40 per cent more administrative work. His report also mentioned that the number of files per month per front line member in Lloydminster is greater than those of a larger detachment in a more populous Alberta municipality.
“The reality of it is our RCMP officers are faced with a different workload than anywhere else in this country,” Manj said. “Not every file is that way, but the majority of the stuff that involves cross-jurisdiction ... you go out, tackle the crime, arrest somebody, but then on top of what other cities have, we have to do 40 per cent more work to get that person in front of the courts.”
Following the presentation, city council approved in principle a request to hire four new full-time RCMP officers and that the mayor forward a letter to the Treasury Board of Canada requesting those additions. To help cover the cost of the new hires, the city will be applying to the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice Targeted Crime Reduction Police Initiatives grant program, which could potentially cover up to $440,000 of the estimated $560,000 expense.
“There’s a formal process for making applications (for additional officers), so the key to this is making sure that we get our application in. When the positions are approved, sometimes they’re all approved, sometimes there’s a few approved, but at that time city council has the ability to put forward the budgeting items accordingly,” Mayor Rob Saunders said.
“It’s highly important to get provincial support for any initiative, especially one as costly as moving forward with additional officers. So hopefully we’re aligning ourselves appropriately with the program’s criteria and are in a good position to benefit from those supports.”