Esquimalt Township council voted down a motion for an increase in funding for the Victoria Police Department in a meeting Jan. 22 at municipal hall. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Police chief’s plea for funding rejected in Esquimalt

Council narrowly votes down $94,000 budget increase for policing

Victoria police Chief Const. Del Manak was looking for his department to hire six more police officers and two civilian staff to better police the Township of Esquimalt.

To do so, he told Esquimalt council recently, it would require an extra $94,000 from the Township. That money won’t be coming anytime soon.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that there is a gap in what we provide and what you’re looking for,” Manak said during his presentation of the 2018-19 Victoria-Esquimalt police budget. That gap is perpetuated by a growing population and a lean police department, he added.

The presentation pointed to the 8.9-per-cent rise in Esquimalt’s population since 2011, well above the 6.5-per-cent CRD average.

While the crime rate has been relatively stable for the last five years, the need for more officers was first identified back in 2012.

Between 16.7 per cent and 21.4 per cent of on-duty patrol resources are assigned specifically to Esquimalt, where roughly 11 per cent of all calls to VicPD originate, Manak said.

“The officers work so hard, 24/7,” he said. “They are not waiting for the next call to come in, there’s a load of calls holding that they wish they could get to sooner.”

An overview of the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) program, a two-year pilot expansion program that began integrating mental health support with policing in 2017, revealed officers have seen “an immediate positive impact.”

Manak requested that the multi-disciplinary team, which includes clinicians and psychologists, be increased from one officer to three at a cost of $37,000 for the Township, where 38 of the ACT clients reside.

“The goal here is to really have a patient-centered, client-focused response and to help people,” he said. “Instead of working in silos, [we want to] work in collaborative teams that are far more effective and able to stabilize people.”

Because mental illness and criminality often intersect, it’s important the department is able to work with other service providers such as Island Health to form strong bonds with individuals, he added.

Councillors were dubious about what were described as “staggering numbers” for the Township’s population of 18,000.

“I’m not supporting it because I actually want to put pressure on the call for regionalization,” Coun. Beth Burton-Krahn said, referring to a regional police force. “I’m sick and tired of Esquimalt residents picking up the cost for Saanich and Oak Bay.”

Mayor Barb Desjardins said she couldn’t support the motion because she did not feel it supported the framework agreement the department initially made with the Township regarding the budget.

Ultimately, council voted down the motion 4-3.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Victoria writer and filmmaker turns her mental illness into mental strength

Mental illness robs Victoria woman of happiness from age 10

Physician assistants say they can help B.C. health care woes

Reducing wait times, improving doctor efficiency is the goal

Additional data from Point-in-Time survey finds most homeless people are local

Most homeless people are young men between the ages of 18 and 24

Two people sent to hospital in View Royal crash

Crash on Island Highway near Six Mile Road snarled the evening commute

Greater Victoria beach clean up recovers 655 pounds of garbage

Cigarette butts, straws discarded at alarming rates on local beaches

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

Advance voting begins Oct. 10 in Greater Victoria

The polls open at 8 a.m. for the 2018 municipal election with the general election taking place Oct. 20

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

How rules for inmate segregation in Canada will change under Bill C-83

Federal government proposing changes to rules around inmates in federal correctional institutions

Most Read