Thompson RCMP dealt with 201 more intoxicated persons and disturbance calls this January than they did in the first month of 2019.
There were 491 intoxicated person and disturbance calls this January, compared to 290 the previous year, Thompson RCMP detachment acting officer-in-charge Staff Sgt. Chris Hastie told members of the public safety committee at their Feb. 13 meeting.
“There’s been a notable increase since last January in the number of intoxicated person/disturbance complaints,” he said – an average of 6.5 more calls per day. “The volume of intoxicated person/disturbance complaints has gone up a lot over the last year.”
There were about 5,800 such calls in all of 2019.
“I foreshadow that’s going to probably hit 6,000 this year,” Hastie said.
The reason for the rise is mostly due to the location of the new Liquor Mart, which has resulted in more complaints about intoxicated people and disturbances from Impact Security at City Centre Mall.
“The liquor store by the mall is probably the biggest creator of alcohol-related calls,” Hasite said. “Mall security looks after the best interests of the mall. That’s why it’s generating all the dispatches. It’s our new downtown area, that area there.”
Deputy mayor Les Ellsworth said the city is looking at passing a bylaw that would restrict the hours the Liquor Mart could be open and city manager Anthony McInnis said the province has recommended an alcohol-specific bylaw as the best way to accomplish that goal. The city is also still in active talks with the province about a Main Street North program, based on the Main Stree prject in Winnipeg, that would reduce the number of people locked up in RCMP cells for being intoxicated.
“We’re hopeful to make some progress on that front,” said McInnis.
Haste said Thompson is need of such a program.
The City of Thompson would have had more community safety officers (CSOs) on the street this month with one returning from parental leave, but one of the other CSOs was terminated because they no longer have a valid driver’s licence, so there are still only three.
The timing for recruiting a new officer will depend upon when training, which isn’t offered in Thompson, is available, McInnis said.
“We’ll have to see when the next training session is."
While January wasn’t a busy month for the RCMP in terms of call volume, Hastie said it was challenging because of the nature of some of the incidents officers dealt with, including a homicide, a fatal house fire and a prisoner dying in detachment cells.
“It’s been a busy month for serious files, serious investigations,” he said. “Some of the members have been through some challenging files, challenging dispatches.”