It’s been the busiest year ever for the Ucluelet RCMP.
During a Sept. 21 regular council meeting, detachment commander Sgt. Smith told council that calls are 20 per cent higher than the highest file count on record.
“We just had file 1,200 a couple days ago. That’s a lot for a five-member detachment to handle that many files. That’s about 12 calls per 1,000 people in the community,” Sgt. Smith said, who transferred to Ucluelet from Masset on Haida Gwaii six months ago.
With Sgt. Smith at the helm, the current members at the office are: Cst. Michael Moore, Cst. Brandon Ewacha, Cst. Yannick Harry, and Cst. Jed Simkins. Cst. Harry is the assigned Indigenous Policing constable.
Sgt. Smith would like to see another constable added to the detachment.
“The last time we got a new member was 1983. The town has changed just a little since then,” he said. “With me working by myself and 1,000 people on Long Beach, there is not a lot I can do. Hopefully we can get more resources this year.”
Council unanimously approved a motion to write a letter of support for additional members of RCMP service for the District of Ucluelet.
The majority of the files are alcohol related, according to Sgt. Smith.
“Any work we can to do reduce the harm and develop opportunities to get people help that they need is great,” he said.
Traffic complaints are up by 32 per cent (ie: speeding, road rage, alcohol related crashes). Traffic work is a priority, notes Sgt. Smith, and they’ve received funding to keep up the monthly Island district traffic enforcement between both Tofino and Ucluelet into the winter.
Threat calls are up 42 per cent.
“I think that has a lot to do with a lot of people are tired and worn out. It’s been a long go. and people have short fuses, which has led to quite a few threats and argument files,” Sgt. Smith said.
Fraud is 30 per cent, property theft is down four per cent and mischief (ie: loud parties) is down 10 per cent. Assaults are down 19 per cent.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT & MENTAL HEALTH
Sgt. Smith and his team will be spending more time working with the schools and meeting with a harm reduction group, which includes representatives from the Tofino General Hospital and BC Ambulance.
Working on mental health within the detachment as well as with the community was also noted as a priority.
“We work very long hours and at all hours of the night so we are making that a priority to make sure that my members are mentally healthy and can serve the public,” he said.
“Then also working with health services to work with people in town that are having mental health issues and struggles that we can find them help and direct them in the right direction and not have it be two in the morning and trying to solve the issue when we can work out appointments.”