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

Just Posted

Parents call for change to health laws after Oak Bay teen’s death

Accidental overdose has Elliot Eurchuk’s parents seeking change to B.C Infants Act

Tsawout hosts Saanich Peninsula community leaders at blanket ceremony

Reconciliation event meant to share the Indigenous exerience

Amazing Race Canada kicks off at Hatley Castle

Popular reality TV show will premiere later this year

WATCH:First responders score first, take inaugural Challenge Cup in Oak Bay

Ice hockey game raises funds for Cops for Cancer, encourages positive interaction with youth

LGBTQ advocates turn Victoria SOGI protest into dance party

Counter-protest outnumbers anti-SOGI activists on lawn of B.C. legislature

Judith Guichon steps down as Lieutenant Governor of B.C.

Election decision didn’t make her best moments from the past six years

Vancouver to rake in $30 million in empty homes tax in first year

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada, and was intended to address the city’s near-zero vacancy rate

B.C.’s snowpack continues to increase, melting delayed

River Forecast Centre official says sudden melting further into the season could cause flooding

Another B.C. First Nation voices support for Kinder Morgan pipeline

Simpcw First Nation claims people living on one-third of pipeline route support the project

Scooter crash leaves Island man with critical injuries

RCMP said a truck was making a left-hand turn when it collided with the scooter travelling through the intersection

Prankster broadcasts fake nuclear threat in Winnipeg

The audio recording on Sunday warned of a nuclear attack against Canada and the United States

ICBC reform aims to slow rising car insurance costs

‘Pain and suffering’ payouts to be capped, major injury limit to double

Most Read