Kamloops approves additional RCMP officers to combat increased drug-related crime, homelessness
'We can't arrest our way through social issues'
Kamloops city council has approved funding for added RCMP members for the Kamloops detachment.
Kamloops RCMP Supt. Mueller attended a city council meeting on Dec. 5 to make the case for why the city should fund more RCMP positions.
"Certainly in the last year and a half, the policing environment has changed," Mueller said.
"Social issues," particularly homelessness and a rise in drug-related crime have subsequently increased pressure to the Kamloops detachment. Mueller estimates $1.5 million will have to be paid out to Kamloops RCMP members for overtime in 2017.
"We can't arrest our way through social issues," Mueller said. "We need resources."
The current budget for RCMP is $22 million. Mueller said they'd need an additional $525,000 in 2018 to cover the cost of added members.
Council unanimously passed the motion for an increased budget and new police hires.
"If we can't take care of those that we're asking to take care of us, then we best get into another business," said Kamloops mayor Ken Christian.
Funding for the new positions will come from increased property tax in the city and from the RCMP reserve fund. Kamloops taxpayers pay about 90 per cent of the costs associated with policing in the community.
Mueller doesn't expect to be able to fill the roster, even with the increased funding and authorization. Across the province, cities are struggling with chronic under-staffing.
Mueller told council he predicted an increase in public safety issues in 2016 when the City was considering the addition of a supervised consumption site.
"I raised that if those public safety issues continued to develop, we would be looking at an ask of four to six additional members," he said.