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Independent review to identify improvements at VicPD

Doing business better lies at the heart of an independent review of staffing and resource deployment at the Victoria Police Department.

Darryl Plecas has been peeling back the layers of the department’s patrol, communications and investigative services divisions since last spring. He holds the RCMP University Chair and is director of the Centre of Criminal Justice Research at the University of the Fraser Valley's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice,

"It’s the idea that there could be some things that we’re doing that we’re just spinning our wheels on and not doing as effectively as we could be," said Const. Mike Russell, VicPD spokesperson. "(We) really want to get the most bang for the buck for the community, and have the ability to handle large caseloads.

"We’re trying to graph out what the next five years will look like."

The findings in the report, which is costing the department $25,000, are expected to be released next month.

It made sense to put three of the department's largest and busiest divisions under the microscope, said Russell.

Patrol staffs a large number of the department’s 241 sworn officers.

"We’re looking at the patrol schedule," said Russell. "Is it the most effective to have just four watches rotating on 12-hour shifts or is there a better way to deploy it?”

Plecas and his team are also looking at investigative services, which includes detectives. They are tasked with the most serious of cases, which are becoming more complex and time-consuming, Russell said.

"Major investigations are always front-end loaded," he said, adding any time there is a major incident five to 10 detectives are called out, as well as forensic identification and sometimes canine officers and Russell to address the media.

VicPD's 911 communications centre, which employs 46 full- and part-time civilians, is also being reviewed “just because they’re really the backbone,” Russell said, adding there may be ways to use communication staff and equipment more efficiently.

A similar review of department resources and staffing last took place in 2001.

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