Twelve communities in BC, including Victoria and Nanaimo, will soon have new police hubs aimed at combatting violent crime.
At a press conference in Nanaimo Wednesday, Premier David Eby said starting in May, 12 new hubs will open in cities around the province that “combine the services and expertise of police, prosecutors and probation officers.”
The new initiative will monitor cases involving prolific offenders in every region of the province to tackle repeat violent offending.
The group will advise one another on how best to handle the cases, from initial investigation through to the court process and subsequent community supervision in cases of release and probation.
The hubs will be located in four regions of British Columbia, including the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Interior, and the North.
Two hubs will be located in the Vancouver Island region, specifically in Victoria and Nanaimo.
The other hubs will be in located in Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Abbotsford, Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Prince George, Williams Lake and Terrace.
Each hub will serve surrounding communities within its region, coordinating responses across the justice system and connecting offenders with the services they need to support better outcomes.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community, wherever they live…We’re taking action by standing up 12 hubs throughout BC to harness the expertise and experience that will disrupt repeat violent offending and make a real difference in B.C. neighbourhoods,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
The hubs are part of the Repeat Violent Offending Intervention Initiative, which will be supported by the new Special Investigation and Targeted Enforcement (SITE) program.
The province is investing $16 million over three years, so that law enforcement can focus on targeted investigations of repeat violent offending cases and improve information sharing between police agencies.
“Crimes committed by repeat violent offenders continue to be a concern across the country…That’s why we’re investing in dedicated Crown counsel to provide criminal law advice, and independent prosecutorial support and services to support the hubs and help build safer, more just communities,” said Niki Sharma, Attorney General.
In November of last year, shortly after taking over as premier of BC, David Eby announced that the province would be taking action to bring “stronger public safety” to communities across BC with $230 million in new funding.
The new funding that is being made available is particularly for rural, remote and Indigenous communities as well as to create specialized teams for investigating complex, violent and organized crimes.
Prosecutors and probation officers dealing with high-risk offenders will also benefit.
The province will also continue to reverse cuts to sexual assault centres, increase crime prevention and support victim services funding.