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Victoria police chief says cost pressures could change how officers respond

Last Updated Jul 31, 2019 at 11:04 pm PDT

Victoria Police Chief Del Manak. (Source: Victoria Police Department)

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Police in Victoria say cost pressures and staff shortages are forcing a shift in service delivery, that could see changes in how officers respond to issues.

Chief Del Manak says major crimes like homicides, assaults and robberies will be their first concerns, while patrols of local parks, responses to neighbourhood issues and after-hours animal complaints could face delays.

“I can’t keep doing the same with 208 officers when my authorized strength is 249, so there’s no doubt there’s going to be significant changes,” he says.

The chief says the department is considering adjusting current patrol units, appointing special constables — who don’t carry guns — to respond to lower priority calls and eliminating police liaison officers at local schools.

Victoria mayor responds

The Mayor of Victoria is staying positive, even though the city’s police chief says budget restraints and staff shortages will mean shifts in service.

Lisa Helps says she salutes the chief’s plan to transform the department’s service model to one that deploys officers on a priority basis.

“If you talk to any police chief in this country, they will say we don’t have enough staff and we don’t have enough resources. That is a fact of policing in Canada in the 21st century without question. So I think the importance of of this report is what kinds of outcomes do we want police agencies to achieve?” she says.