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Policy for notifying public of high-risk offenders tweaked: RCMP

The N.W.T. Department of Justice will now be notifying RCMP of the early release of all high-risk offenders, the RCMP announced Friday.

Yellowknife police also apologize for not telling public about Feb. 1 sexual assault

RCMP spokesperson Const. Elenore Sturko speaks at a news conference in Yellowknife. (CBC)

The N.W.T. Department of Justice will now be notifying RCMP of the early release of all high-risk offenders, the RCMP announced Friday at a news conference. 

The recent arrest of repeat sexual offender Bobby Zoe in Yellowknife led to the change in policy.

The RCMP also said it regrets its failure to notify the public about a Feb. 1 break and enter and sexual assault. Zoe is facing charges in that incident, and in another break and enter and sexual assault that happened on Feb. 15.

"The Yellowknife RCMP regrets the failure to notify the public of the Feb. 1 incident," said Const. Elenore Sturko, RCMP spokesperson.

In the case of Zoe, Sturko said that at the time of his most recent sentencing in 2014, RCMP were provided with the anticipated date of his release but release dates can change due to a variety of factors. 

Police say notice from the Department of Justice of the early release of high-risk offenders will give them time to determine if the public should be notified.

Sturko says they didn't have that lead time in the case of Zoe.

"In this instance, a lack of adequate communication was the primary factor in the release of Zoe not being brought to the attention of managing officers," she said.

"As a result, a review was not undertaken and decision as to whether or not to release information to the public was not made." 

RCMP say they've conducted a review and made changes to improve communication within the RCMP and between organizations.

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