One-Mountie detachment to close in Buchans

The RCMP will be phasing out its one-person detachment in Buchans, because of provincial budget cuts.

Town will lose its only police officer in wake of provincial budget cuts

The RCMP detachment in Buchans will be phased out in the next three months. (CBC)

The RCMP is closing its detachment in the central Newfoundland community of Buchans because of provincial budget cuts.

The move comes about a year and a half after the federal government reached a new 20-year contract with the RCMP, three territories and six provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador.

At the time, then justice minister Felix Collins trumpeted increased funding for more officers and new detachments.

Once the detachment is closed, the RCMP will cover Buchans, Buchans Junction and Millertown from Grand Falls-Windsor, about 100 kilometres away.

Sgt. Marc Coulombe said it will take about three months for the detachment to wind down its work.

"As a result of the reductions, the RCMP had to make a decision to close the one-person office, I guess, or the detachment in Buchans," said Coulombe. "So this detachment will be phased out of service over the coming months."

Buchans Mayor Derm Corbett said people in the town have concerns.  

"People are concerned that once you remove the detachment and that presence is not there — and we've seen it in other towns there can be serious consequences in terms of crime once a detachment closes —that's a concern of residents," said Corbett.

RCMP Sgt. Les Bruschett says although the detachment is being phased out, a police presence will continue in the Buchans area. (CBC)

"They've assured me that it's simply not a matter of 'Well, we're throwing you under the bus.' You know, they assured me that there will be a plan put in place that will contain a police presence." 

But the RCMP believe this won't be a major change. 

Sgt. Les Bruschett of the Grand Falls-Windsor detachment said the one on-duty officer works 40 hours a week, which means many calls are already being handled by the Grand Falls-Windsor detachment an hour away.

"Obviously police presence will continue in that community, as part of our detachment area, and I'm certainly committed to providing the police service they require," said Bruschett.

The mayors of Buchans and Millertown will meet with the RCMP on Friday to discuss the move.