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by Isabel Mosseler
The West Nipissing Police Services Board (WNPSB) presented its business plan and projections to municipal council on November 7th, with Chair Barry Bertrand and police Chief Chuck Seguin providing details in tandem. The business plan covers the years 2017-2019 and was prepared in accordance with the Police Services Act (PSA), said Bertrand. His preamble informed council that the PSA is undergoing revisions, with the first draft of proposed changes tabled in the preceding week. He indicated the changes would have considerable effect on how police services are delivered and paid for down the road.
Chief Seguin took over the presentation, indicating the business plan was an extensive document, posted to the WNPS website for anyone to review, and he would focus on the highlights alone. He noted that coming changes would have an impact on the police budget. “Trying to project the future, I looked at the last three years …We’re looking at about 2% range increase [per year],” he stated.
The document shows costs rising steadily from under $3 million in 2009 to $4.2 million in 2017, and projected to increase to $4.47 million by 2020. Seguin specified that changes in cannabis legislation would put extra pressure on resources, necessitating more training and more court time.
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The chief said the crime severity index released in July 2017 showed, for the first time, that the local rate was higher than the provincial rate. He attributed this increase to property crimes, thefts including shoplifting, mischief and break and enters. “There’s a definite increase in reporting of theft and fraud,” he said, adding that there is a similar increase nationwide. He noted that the local service has also been conducting outreach programs on fraud targeting seniors.
One of the highlighted goals and objectives was to have computers installed in police vehicles so reports could be completed while on patrol. Seguin cited this as a strategic goal, to aid in everything from more community patrol, less time in office, using the software to conduct crime mapping, and more officer visibility at community events. “So that when they are in your town, Lavigne, Verner, Crystal Falls, wherever they have access to our records management system rather, they can park on the side of the road and prepare reports, right there and then, …and spend less time at 225 Holditch.” The chief felt 95% of the paperwork could be done from the vehicle. “That’s a huge objective.”