Keremeos RCMP say despite a projected $10.7-million shortfall in the B.C. RCMP budget, police services in the village will not be affected.
“There isn’t going to be any change in how we operate. If we need to bring in resources to address a situation, we’re still going to do that,” said Cpl. Brian Evans, head of the Keremeos detachment.
“It’s not going to affect how we serve the community. It’s more of some of the administrative or training side of things that is likely going to be affected in the short term.”
The RCMP’s provincial budget covers integrated units such as homicide investigation, traffic and forensics, as well as rural policing. While the cuts are still just a projection, the first things on the chopping block are travel expenses, overtime, non-mandatory training and new equipment, Black Press reported on Nov. 14.
Mayor Manfred Bauer said he was concerned to hear rural policing might be affected but added it is too soon to tell. To stay on top of the issue, he has organized a meeting with Evans and MP Dan Albas and plans to keep a close on eye on the issue.
“This is something we will have to see as it trickles down. As far as I know, this is more in terms of cutting overtime and that kind of thing. It’s not cutting staff or major programs,” he said. “We will have to see what the local impact will be and based on that local impact we will lobby the upper echelons of government who are responsible for this.”
Right now, the village has five officers, which is the maximum amount for a community under 5,000.
But that wasn’t always the case. In 2017, the Village of Keremeos along with the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and the Lower Similkameen Indian Band sent letters to the public safety minster stating their concerns about high RCMP member turnover and long response times at that time.
“I wouldn’t say that there is a specific problem in this area. It is the same problem other areas face and, looking at our stats, I’m thinking we are doing pretty good compared to the South Okanagan,” Bauer added.
“This is a very difficult kind of situation because we only have so many officers allocated. So we are where we should. Before we could even think about more officers, we would have to have more population.”
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