(Victoria Buzz)

A space for Saanich locals to engage in community policing and prevention programming is now officially open to the public.

This week, the Saanich Police Department marked a big milestone as it cut the ribbon to its new Community Safety Office at Uptown Shopping Centre, near Carey Road.

At a grand opening celebration Thursday, Mayor Fred Haynes was thrilled and echoed police chief Dean Duthie, who said it was “a really important day in Saanich history.”

“This is a great opportunity for us to continue our drive and goal to enhance and strengthen relationships with all community groups in Saanich to educate, learn from each other and make our community as safe as possible,” said Duthie.

Serving as the flagship of Saanich PD’s Community Engagement Division, the office will help police offer more community-based safety initiatives, projects, and programming.

“We truly believe that this will be a community office, run by the community, and for the benefit of the community,” said Saanich PD.

Police say the new volunteer-run office will deliver current core programming like Block Watch, Speed Watch, Cell Watch, Lock Out Auto Crime, plus “Ace” mascot programming.

The space will also offer several information and resources, including fraud prevention, elder abuse, victims of crime programs, cyber-crime, cyber-bullying, home security, and pedestrian and bike safety.

Saanich’s Community Safety Office is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saanich PD says it’s regularly looking for volunteers to join its team.

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