The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment is reporting a 6.9 per cent increase in calls for service for January to June, 2018, from the same period last year.
Inspector Chris Bear, head of the detachment, told Duncan’s city council on July 16 that the detachment, which currently has 59 RCMP officers working when at full strength, received 10,901 calls in the first six months of the year, compared with 10,194 calls during the same time period in 2017.
Of those, 4,847 calls for service were received in the year’s second quarter, from April to June, compared to 5,384 calls in the same quarter in 2017. Despite this drop, the overall trend has been up.
“The detachment has experienced a steady increase in the file load from 2012 to 2015, for total increase of 12 per cent over that time period,” Bear said.
“A sharp increase of 15 per cent occurred in the 2016 file load, which resulted in 2,700 additional files, when compared to 2015.”
The calls in April through June, 2018, include 121 for assaults, 87 for casing a disturbance, 142 shoplifting calls, 35 calls related to weapons offences, 25 for sex offences, 23 for driving under the influence, 35 non-fatal crashes that resulted in injuries, 63 calls for drug possession and 245 theft from vehicle calls.
For the first six months of the year, Bear said approximately 23 per cent of the calls the detachment responded to came from within the City of Duncan, 47 per cent came from within the Municipality of North Cowichan, 10 per cent came from the provincial area and 14 per cent came from First Nations lands.
Bear said a small number, just six per cent, originated from people going to the detachment directly.
Last year, the detachment asked that up to four additional officers be added to keep up with increasing demands and work loads.
The Municipality of North Cowichan, which pays for the detachment’s costs as well as the province and the City of Duncan, agreed to add an RCMP officer in 2018 to help with the growing demands, bringing the number of police officers the municipality is responsible for at the detachment from 31 to 32 officers.
Bear told Duncan council on Monday that a general duty staffing analysis, one of the first of its kind on the Island, is continuing at the detachment to determine its staffing requirements.
He said the assessment process has been successfully used in Lower Mainland detachments for calculating general duty resource requirements and the deployment of those resources.
“To achieve optimal response times for the types of calls for service, the assessment analyzes data from different components, and then calculates the number of resources needed to respond to the calls for service being received within an appropriate time,” Bear said.