By Const. Matt Rutherford
It’s been a busy here at VicPD. Throughout the months of May and June, we have been holding public engagement sessions related to our 2017 Community and Business Survey project.
We heard from citizens from across Victoria and Esquimalt about how they value the service that VicPD provides, as well as important suggestions about how we can improve that service. We look forward to reporting back on what we learned and how that input will inform our next strategic plan.
One consistent theme heard time and again through these engagements is that the public truly values these conversations about the future of policing in their communities.
In total, we had a response rate of 42 per cent for the VicPD Community Survey, which really shows how engaged our citizens are when it comes to having a say in how policing is delivered in our communities. In terms of results, drug activity was expressed as the main concern among respondents in both Victoria and Esquimalt.
When asked how we can improve our service to the citizens we serve, “being more visible in the community” was the top recommendation in both Victoria and Esquimalt.
Also, we received numerous voluntary comments from respondents, including “I have lived in a dozen cities across the country and I must say that the Victoria police are the most empathetic, open-minded and community-focused force I’ve ever encountered.” Thank you to all those residents that completed the survey or came to one of our engagement sessions.
Looking ahead, we will all be celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday this year and planning is well underway to make sure the many festivities are safe and enjoyable family events. Similar to past years, our officers will be out making sure everybody is safe and that each event goes smoothly. We would like to remind people that open consumption of liquor is not allowed and we hope that people will leave large bags and any other unnecessary items at home.
Also, please remember that drones are not permitted at the sites of the celebration events. Victoria’s Inner Harbour is an active flight zone for float planes and helicopters so drones are strictly prohibited under Transport Canada rules.
Also, as in previous years, this Canada Day we will be deploying temporary monitored cameras in open, public spaces in support of our operations to enhance public safety. We’re doing so in line with the B.C. Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the cameras will be taken down following the event.
We hope that everybody has a wonderful Canada Day and are able to celebrate responsibly with family and friends.