A Victoria Police Department cruiser. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

VicPD explains why calls for service can’t be compared to years before 2019

Department launches Open VicPD, new platform in aim to be transparent

In an effort to be as “transparent and accountable as possible,” the Victoria Police Department is taking the public on a deep dive of the interactive VicPD Community Dashboard and calls for service.

The Community Dashboard, along with online quarterly reports, publications and other information posted online is part of a new campaign called Open VicPD, which is how the department is “telling the story of working towards [its] strategic vision.” The strategic vision called a Safer Community Together is also outlined on the VicPD website.

According to VicPD calls for service are a key measure of how busy the department is. In quarterly reports, calls for service are covered in three-month snapshots and compared year-to-year on the Community Dashboard.

READ ALSO: VicPD launches open online platform in effort to be more transparent

A call for service is a request that generates any action on the part of the police department or a partner agency performing work on behalf of the police department, such as E-Comm 911.

A call for service is not generated by for proactive activities unless the officer generates a specific call for service report. Individual calls for service can vary greatly in complexity and time required to manage them.

READ ALSO: Victoria police seek suspects in series of bear spray attacks

“A call for a barricaded person which requires a many hours-long response from many specialized units is much different than a response to a located bicycle,” reads a press release from VicPD, adding that this is a good starting point to measure how many calls are being responded to, but does not measure the resources each individual call requires.

VicPD explains that a key factor impacting the decline in calls for service between 2018 and 2019 was the transition to E-Comm 911. A number of changes in how calls for service are received, classified and tracked occurred around this time, and in mid-2019 abandoned 911 calls were no longer classified as a call for service unless an officer was dispatched. In 2017, VicPD received 7,300 abandoned 911 calls totaling 13 per cent of all calls for service in 2017.

VicPD states that as a result of these changes, a direct comparison of trends regarding calls for service beginning in 2019 compared to previous years is not possible.

To read more about Open VicPD visit vicpd.ca.


 

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