Policing issues presented to Masset council

  • Jan. 13, 2012 3:00 p.m.

A number of issues are leaving the Masset RCMP Detachment short staffed, including a vacant sergeant’s position. Acting Sergeant Cpl. Andrew Baylis attended the Masset council meeting on Monday Jan 9, with the second and third quarterly reports from the detachment. The second quarter report had not been delivered to council months ago due to personnel issues. “The RCMP was trying a pilot project to see if the islands could operate with one sergeant. After some consultation, that idea was scrapped,” said Cpl.Baylis. The Masset detachment was left with no sergeant after Sgt. Grant MacDonald was promoted to Burns Lake in July. Sgt. MacDonald’s replacement is Sgt. Blake Ward of the North Coast Marine Section in Prince Rupert, however he is awaiting the sale of his house before taking up his post in Masset. This has been ongoing for almost six months, with the RCMP granting two extensions to Sgt. Ward. For a short time Sgt. Rob Knapton of Queen Charlotte was overseeing both detachments, but lately, Cpl. Baylis has been in the acting sergeant position. As well the sergeant issue, the detachment has at times, been running short on officers. One constables was in Ottawa for Emergency Response training for six weeks, while another was off-island for five weeks due to medical leave. The medical leave has resulted in the officer leaving Masset this month. The post will remain vacant until April when a new officer will transfer in. Cpl. Baylis said the reduced number of officers is having an effect on its annual performance plans, which includes traffic safety, alcohol and drug abuse, and crime reduction including community safety and domestic violence.”As a detachment we set goals to try new initiatives in the community or to better ourselves from the previous year. When you set those objectives for seven officers and that number is reduced to five, it puts added pressure on the remaining constables, forcing them to spend less time on the proactive initiatives,” he said. The good news though is that calls for service and the number of prisoners the RCMP dealt with in both quarters are down. Between July and September, there were 397 calls for service compared to 406 in 2010, and 56 people arrested compared to 66 in 2010. Overall, the numbers decreased by 2 percent and 15 percent respectively. When looking at the numbers in the third quarter, the overall decline in calls for service year over year was 12 percent, meantime the number of prisoners dropped by 35 percent. Baylis said he “can’t pinpoint any certain area or problem resulting in the decrease, as the numbers dropped across the board.” When asked if the reduced number of officers could have had an impact on the decline, he said “the number of calls has dropped, which means there isn’t as much happening in the community, creating those concerned phone calls from people in the community.”