Houston and Granisle RCMP detachments are formally amalgamating into one.
This means the two officers who lived in Granisle on two-year-long posts will no longer be specifically assigned to Granisle, but will live anywhere in the detachment area and be posted for four years.
Nine officers are now based in Houston to police the jurisdiction from Hungry Hill to Six Mile Hill, north to Old Fort and south to Huckleberry Mine.
RCMP Sergeant Stephen Rose says the Houston and Granisle detachments were informally amalgamated in 2008, operating as one but existing on record as two distinct detachments.
But now the RCMP is simplifying by formalizing the amalgamation.
Other B.C. communities the size of Granisle don’t have their own detachments, and Granisle doesn’t have the workload for a full detachment, said Sgt. Rose.
Since the informal amalgamation in 2008, no one has physically been on shift in Granisle. RCMP officers simply lived there and reported to the Houston detachment. When calls came from Granisle, the officers on shift in Houston responded, Sgt. Rose said.
“The only time officers were in Granisle was if they were sleeping and off shift, otherwise when they started regular shift, they were in Houston.”
Yet Sgt. Rose says that since 2008, there’s been “absolutely no change in crime rates up there… if anything numbers continue to decrease.”
Houston Councillor Jonathan Van Barneveld asked if there is evidence that people are not calling because they know no one is there, but Sgt. Rose says no.
“The actually substantiated criminal code offences have decreased consistently, but the actual calls for service are fairly consistent. So crime has decreased but they’re still calling,” Sgt. Rose said.
Granisle is ranked third lowest for criminal code offences based on population, he added.
Houston will benefit from the amalgamation with two more officers living in the community.
With the elimination of the two-year posts, there will also be less turnover and officers will have more time to become known and integrated in the community, Sgt. Rose said.
Granisle will benefit from the amalgamation in a different way.
Though they won’t have officers living in the community, Sgt. Rose says police will make regular patrols to community.
Rather then officers only being in Granisle off shift or specifically called in, now the goal is to send patrols at least three times per week, with officers scheduled to go into Granisle and work out of the detachment there, Sgt. Rose said.
“So they’ll actually have the police there more often.”
The officers that were losing over two hours per shift commuting back and forth from Granisle, will now have more time to dedicate to proactive policing initiatives.
With all nine officers based in Houston, Sgt. Rose says “coverage will be greater for the entire jurisdiction.”