Finding a balance between protecting public safety and the needs of its members is at the front of minds for members of the Comox Valley RCMP during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Const. Monika Terragni, media relations spokesperson at the Comox Valley RCMP said there have been some changes at the local detachment – and province-wide – in order for staff and residents to stay as healthy as possible as the pandemic progresses.
In addition to the community policing office closed to the public in order to create more social distancing, Terragni said the detachment is encouraging people to make reports online using their new online reporting tool.
“This will ensure social distancing and still allow for accurate reporting and resource deployment.”
The online reporting tool became available on March 18.
In regards to protecting frontline members, Terragni noted they routinely have to take precautions due to contact with individuals and communicable diseases.
“Our members deal with exposure to bodily fluids and other hazards regularly (before the pandemic), so our training and procedures have always focussed on reducing those risks – we plan, prepare, prevent and protect.”
In terms of crime increases with the Valley during the pandemic, Terragni noted the area has not seen any notable increase in crime, however, as the pandemic evolves, she added there are always people who try and take advantage of the situation.
Additionally, the B.C. RCMP has warned the public that residents are being targeted by fraudsters who want to profit from consumers’ fears and desire to protect themselves from COVID-19.
They note the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is reporting that scammers are setting up websites to sell bogus products and using fake emails, texts and social media posts as a ruse to take money and get personal information.
Terragni explained the priority for members is to always assist the public and that will continue to be the priority.
“Our frontline response has not been affected – we are still responding to all the calls from our residents and this will not change.”