A top priority for the RCMP in the Cowichan Valley for 2019 is the hiring of a crime intelligence analyst for the region.
Inspector Chris Bear, head of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, said having a crime intelligence analyst in the Valley would go a long way to assist local police in their crime-fighting efforts.
Criminal analysts are already established in a number of RCMP detachments throughout British Columbia.
While council members in North Cowichan are grappling with finalizing the municipality’s budget for 2019, some are questioning some of the new positions that are recommended to be added to staff, but the reasoning and costs of adding a crime intelliegence analyst position to the local detachment has yet to receive any scrutiny during the budget-building process.
A staff report in North Cowichan has indicated that the position fits with council’s strategic priority to address the opioid crisis and “safe neighbourhoods” in the region, and it leverages funding from other sources.
According to an RCMP statement, a criminal intelligence analyst evaluates and analyzes information and develops products which assist management in decision-making with furthering intelligence and investigations.
“Analysts develop and apply specialized knowledge in specific fields and law enforcement specialities, and assist with identification of crime trends and insights into the criminal environment,” the statement said.
“They are considered an expert resource for detachments.”
Bear said the detachment is hopeful that funding will be approved in support of this position.
“It will greatly enhance the detachment’s ability to identify trends, and to solve crime in a more efficient and timely fashion, thus better serving the Cowichan Valley,” he said.
North Cowichan is responsible for a portion of the funding for the local police, but municipal staff initially were not in support of the position as it was clear it would benefit the entire detachment and there was no provincial contribution.
But the RCMP recently proposed a jointly funded position, with the province paying 50 per cent of the costs, making it more palatable for the municipality.
Adding a crime analyst position, funded 50 per cent by the province, to North Cowichan’s 2019 budget would cost an estimated $28,000, or just 0.10 per cent of the overall budget, based on the position being filled on July 1, according to a staff report.
A tax increase of 3.2 per cent for property owners in North Cowichan in 2019 has been approved, in principal, by council at its meeting on March 6.
The budget also includes the hiring of a new chief building inspector and a person to specialize in climate change and environmental issues.