The people spoke loud and clear at the recent safety forum in Oliver – please (RCMP) communicate better, especially if we have been victims of crime.
That seemed to be the resounding message as several speakers raised concerns about the lack of communication and follow-up from the RCMP. In fact, the Chronicle has heard this from many people over the years.
We understand that the police have to be tight-lipped on some things, but people need to know that the evidence they present to the RCMP is being acted on in a timely manner.
When this doesn’t happen, people get frustrated and don’t report suspicious activity anymore. The bad guys just love this attitude.
There was a time when the Chronicle met with the Oliver RCMP every week (for 30 minutes) to get the news. That fell by the wayside a few years ago because the commander could no longer spare the time. So we agreed that email reports would be more efficient, but over time those emails also fell by the wayside. Many of you will notice that we no longer have a police section because we rarely receive any reports from the RCMP (unless we specifically ask them about an incident).
Over the years there seems to have been a disconnect between the police and the general public. We used to know the names and faces of every member in town. We don’t anymore.
It’s very important to victims of crime to know that the police are actively working on their files and to be able to follow up on a regular basis.
We acknowledge that police resources are limited and members can’t be everywhere at once. But that phone call update or simple communication is all it takes to appease most people.
We commend the RCMP for hosting that meeting because it was definitely past due. We liked Superintendent Hewco’s admission that the police do make mistakes because they are only human.
But what we found disturbing was the ability of a local drug addict to continue “terrorizing” members of the community. This is wrong and should be corrected immediately through the proper health channels.
We tend to agree with Town representative Rick Machial that it should be publicized that the RCMP are conducting scheduled night patrols. For too long criminals have known that they could wreak havoc in Oliver after midnight with no cops around.
They need to know that the next time they steal something, the police could catch them in the act.
It was interesting to listen to an older couple who came into the Chronicle and suggested that the Osoyoos Indian Band should have its own police force. Not a bad idea. Having native police officers on the reserve would go a long way for community relations.