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Victoria police redeploying seven officers to address front-line shortfalls

Staff shortage, call volume taking toll, Chief Del Manak says
The Victoria Police Department is redeploying seven of its officers from integrated units into the patrol division, Chief Del Manak announced Oct. 6. (Black Press Media file photo)

The Victoria Police Department is redeploying seven of its officers to its patrol division to help address staffing shortages and increased call volumes on the front lines.

In a statement Wednesday (Oct. 6), Chief Del Manak said the transition will remove all VicPD officers from three regional, provincial and national units. Once the changes take effect Nov. 7, VicPD will no longer be contributing to the Capital Regional District’s Integrated Road Safety Unit, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C., and the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team.

It’s a decision Manak said he doesn’t take lightly but believes is necessary to adequately respond to Victoria residents’ calls for service.

“When citizens call for help, they expect that an officer will arrive to help them quickly,” Manak said. “Without this change and further changes, VicPD cannot maintain that basic level of service.”

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Of the department’s total 249 officers, of which about 100 are in its patrol division, VicPD said 39 of them are currently unable to work on the frontlines. The reasons for this include physical or psychological injuries, illness, parental leave and leaves of absence, VicPD said. Another 17 are still in various stages of recruit training.

The number of shifts lost solely to on-duty physical or psychological injuries more than tripled between 2018 and 2020, according to VicPD’s community dashboard. Last year, 3,361 shifts were lost.

On top of staff shortages, VicPD said it is experiencing an increase in the volume, complexity and severity of calls.

“We do not take the decision to redeploy these officers lightly, but we have to prioritize for our community,” Manak said.

VicPD previously reassigned six officers to its patrol division in 2018 and disbanded its Crime Reduction Unit in 2019 to address staffing shortages.

Manak said the department will review the seven new transfers over the next year to determine if the officers can return to their original units.

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media after starting as a community reporter in Greater Victoria.
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