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

Challengers topple incumbents in several South Island races

2018 civic election ushers in new faces across the CRD

Victoria and Saanich voters elect to move ahead with amalgamation talks

Victoria and Saanich voters have chosen to move ahead with exploring amalgamation… Continue reading

Prank pizzas delivered to Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps’ campaign celebration

The fake orders happened throughout Helps’ campaign

Victoria gets back on the bike for week-long commute competition

Second Bike to Work Week hits the pavement Oct. 22 to 28

VIDEO: Tent city moves to Woodwynn Farm, arrests made

The group is asking the government to provide housing for 60 tent city members

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

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

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

2018 municipal election: Few surprises on Vancouver Island

16 incumbent mayors will continue in their positions for four more years

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Most Read