Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc says she’s happy a City of Terrace resolution asking the provincial government to have provincial prosecutors focus on public safety in dealing with prolific offenders has the backing of other northern local governments.
The resolution was one of 32 considered by delegates gathered at the annual North Central Local Government Association convention in Fort St. John May 4-5.
It will now be forwarded for consideration at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Whistler this September.
Should it be adopted there, it will then be included on the issues list the Union of B.C. Municipalities presents to the provincial government for action.
And it follows a Terrace city council consistent theme of telling the provincial government it must do more to deal with public disorder and criminal activity affecting businesses and citizens within the downtown core.
The resolution keys off the city’s position that the provincial prosecution service often does not follow through on charge recommendations forwarded by the RCMP because they are not considered to be in the public interest.
While there are many factors involved in dealing with street crime and other criminal activity, providing provincial prosecutors with specific guidelines tied to public safety is the tip of the spear, Leclerc said.
“If you keep releasing prolific offenders back into the community, people don’t feel safe,” she added.
The city has also had reservations about Bill C-75, legislation which has changed the bail system so that people arrested and kept in custody may be released by police who can impose release conditions themselves without having that person appear in court for a formal bail hearing.
The changes are meant to relieve congestion within the court system but critics have also labelled the process “catch and release” in that a certain number of people are consistently and continually arrested and then released.
Prior to last week’s convention, the city sent the resolution out to all local governments in B.C. in case they aslo wished to adopt it.
In this circumstance, Leclerc said said Campbell River on Vancouver Island quickly added its name.
“They just jumped right on board,” she said.
Although northern local governments gave their blessing to the resolution, the City of Williams Lake did try to add an amendment and that was to add the requirement for prolific offenders to wear electronic ankle bracelets.
“But we didn’t want that and suggested they do their own,” said Leclerc, adding that the issue of ankle bracelets, contained in the same resolution as one regarding provincial prosecutors, would cloud Terrace’s message.