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Cumberland wants clarity from RCMP on community policing

Comox Valley RCMP is also being invited to present annual report to council
Cumberland wants more information on community policing and relations from the local RCMP as one of its main priorities for policing for the year. Black Press file photo

Cumberland’s council wants a clearer idea of the RCMP’s presence in the community.

Members of council brought up the question of how many hours the detachment spends in Cumberland during a discussion on community issues for the police.

Once again, the area detachment had wanted to get a sense of the main concerns in the community.

“RCMP is looking for this year’s community priorities,” corporate officer Rachel Parker told council at the Feb. 28 meeting.

Council suggested this year’s list could look much the same as last year, stressing issues such as crime reduction, watercraft safety, traffic and road safety, parks and campgrounds, and community policing and relations. Members underscored the need for more of a police presence, starting with more specifics on how often the Comox Valley detachment is in Cumberland.

“I know they were here with their bikes,” Mayor Leslie Baird said. “I’d like to know how often they’re here.”

Coun. Jesse Ketler said the village might want to emphasize to the detachment that it has cleared out space in the old fire hall to provide a base for RCMP to work while in Cumberland. While the fast-growing community did not reach the 5,000 population threshold in the latest census — the point at which it would pay directly for policing — Ketler added the village still pays taxes worth about $300,000 to go toward police costs and that the village needs to know what its level of service is.

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Baird added they might need to clarify what the RCMP means by ‘community policing’ and how this matches what the community expects. Examples she cited included working with community groups and the school as well as conducting walks along the main street to hear concerns from local people.

Council members did say they were happy with the police’s presence in patrolling local campgrounds.

At the end of the discussion, council members unanimously passed a motion to support the same five issues as its community priorities for the coming year, with particular emphasis on community policing and relations. As well, the motion invites the RCMP to come to an upcoming committee of the whole meeting to present its annual service report.

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