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Terrace to be hub for program targetting repeat violent offenders

Part of three-year effort costing $25 million
Things could get busier at the Terrace courthouse with the creation of a special office concerned with repeat violent offenders. (Staff photo)

Terrace is to be the northwest hub for a beefed up effort targeting repeat violent offenders that is part of a province-wide plan costing $25 million over the next three years.

A Crown counsel lawyer and a probation officer, along with police officers, will work on information leading to the laying of charges, what services are available for repeat violent offencers being released from prison and then to keep an eye on those people once released.

Eleven other such hubs are being located around the province with 21 Crown counsel lawyers, 21 B.C. Prosecution Service staffers, four full-time B.C. Corrections officers, nine correctional supervisors and 21 probation officers either being assigned or recruited.

“Police will focus on enhanced investigation, and work with probation to provide enhanced monitoring. Police and probation will also work to ensure that Crown counsel has the information they need to make informed decisions about charge assessments and prosecutions,” indicates information provided by the provincial public safety and solicitor general ministry.

“Probation officers will work with individuals to connect them with supports and services they need to support better outcomes.”

The Terrace hub will be responsible for the area from Haida Gwaii east to Terrace and down to Kitimat.

“We are pulling out all the stops to make sure British Columbians feel safe,” said public safety and solicitor general Mike Farnworth. “Our government made a commitment to tackle the complex issue of repeat violent offending, and we’re backing that promise with concrete action.

Hiring and recruiting is already underway with the public safety ministry saying it expects positions to be filled by April with work to start in May.

While the public safety ministry was able to provide Crown counsel, corrections and probation staffing numbers, the level of police support was not immediately available.

“The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General’s Policing and Security Branch is working closely with police ….. and are confident that police across the province will have made the necessary preparations to fully participate in the program by the end of April,” a statement from the ministry pointed out.

The inclusion of police officers in this latest initiative comes as the RCMP, along with other police forces in the country, is having trouble recruiting, training and retaining officers, resulting in shortages in detachments around the province.

The province hopes to rectify that by spending $230 million over the next three years to find RCMP officers to work on specialized squads such as major crime investigation in rural and remote areas.

About the Author: Rod Link

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