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Safety officers in North Battleford given power to investigate vandalism, theft
Const. Kevin Swansburg, a community safety officer in North Battleford, poses in front of a CSO vehicle on Thursday, July 13, 2017. (Caitlin Taylor/CTV Saskatoon)
Published Thursday, July 13, 2017 5:32PM CST
The job description for North Battleford’s community safety officers is expanding.
North Battleford and provincial officials, alongside the RCMP, announced expanded duties for CSOs in the city Thursday.
Safety officers now have the authority to investigate “low-risk” crimes such as vandalism or theft under $5,000 — provided those crimes aren’t in progress — and to investigate vehicle collisions within the city that do not result in injuries.
“Data given to us by the RCMP show that our local detachment here responded, in 2016, to about 3,000 calls of this nature, which constitutes about 20 per cent of the RCMP’s total call volume,” Mayor Ryan Bater told media at the announcement.
“By the CSOs taking on these added responsibilities, that ought to free up the RCMP to redeploy their resources to higher levels and more serious and high-risk levels of crime.”
RCMP assistant commissioner Curtis Zablocki agreed.
“This change will also allow us to be more responsive to the calls and concerns of those we serve,” Zablocki said in a news release.
The city first brought in community safety officers in 2014 in response to North Battleford’s ranking atop Statistics Canada’s crime severity index for communities of at least 10,000.
“It’s meant to be a way for us to have a local, made-in-Battlefords approach to addressing our crime and safety challenge,” Bater said of the CSO program.
Seven safety officers currently work in the city.
No additional officers are being hired as part of the expanded duties program, but the mayor said city council will revisit hiring needs on an ongoing basis.