Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS

Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS

Victoria police seek budget boost due to spike in high-risk calls

Six new officers among items included in $2.5-million budget increase

The Victoria Police Department is seeking a nearly $2.5-million budget increase that includes hiring six new police officers and increased funding to cover for officers called away to assist with high-risk calls.

The proposed hires are the biggest new expense in the draft $55-million budget presented to city council on Tuesday. The price tag is $870,000 to hire two civilian employees in addition to the six officers, along with the related training and equipment.

The increased ask from the City for “special duties” funding amounts to $160,000, which police say is needed due to an increased number of violent confrontations and more injuries to police officers, which leave gaps in patrol shifts as officers are called to provide emergency response.

RELATED: VicPD chief: Legalizing marijuana will require more police resources

After the presentation, VicPD Chief Del Manak told the News the department projects the number of calls where specialized officers and negotiators are deployed to high-risk incidents, many involving people barricading themselves with a weapon, is expected to be more than 40 per cent higher in 2017 over 2016. In many cases, alcohol or drugs are involved, or mental illness is a factor, he said.

“There are a lot of people in our community who need supports,” Manak said.

“There’s a gap where the needs of these people are not being addressed … and they’re trying to do the best that they can. But they have behavioural issues and they’re perhaps prone to violence, they don’t have the conflict management skills that most people have, and as a result they spiral into a crisis.”

RELATED: Victoria police seek funding for real-time intelligence unit

Officers being called in for special duties accounts for a high proportion of overtime hours, he said, after payment for statutory holidays, and when officers testify in court or are held over from a call.

Police are also considering hiring an additional six staff members – not included in this budget figure – at another $400,000 per year. They also are continuing the mental health integration pilot with an increased budget around $14,000.

Overall, the increase in budget for policing amounts to roughly 4.8 per cent, or approximately $2.5 million.

lauren.boothby@vicnews.com

VicPD

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Greg Chow is the 2021 Local Hero of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Fighting fire a family affair for Colwood Assistant Chief Greg Chow

With 38 years of service, Greg Chow is the 2021 Hero of the Year

Various Victoria locations were hit with a slew of anti-bylaw graffiti Wednesday. This image has been altered to cover up profane language. (Submitted photo)
UPDATED: Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti an ‘unacceptable’ form of communication says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Most Read