Staff Sgt. Scott West of Salmon Arm RCMP says the Police Based Victim Services section plays a crucial role in the detachment. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)

Staff Sgt. Scott West of Salmon Arm RCMP says the Police Based Victim Services section plays a crucial role in the detachment. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)

Workload of police victim services staff concerns Salmon Arm’s top cop

Staff Sgt. says growing demand for support has shut down victim services in larger detachments

Salmon Arm RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott West says Police Based Victim Services staff makes a difference to victims of, and witnesses to, crime or trauma in the Shuswap.

He knows the importance of the victim services role to the Salmon Arm detachment and he wants it to continue.

During his quarterly report to city council in January, West said a second person is being added to the Police Based Victim Services section, mostly as a relief person for the one staff member.

“As the demand goes up on victim services, because of the level of crime, A, but B, the mandate we’re given from the provincial government to support victims of crime, this section sees heavy demand… Supporting people through the court process, supporting them through very, very tragic incidents in their lives.”

West said victim services is something council already supports financially, but when he sees major victim services sections in large detachments closing their doors, it’s cause for concern.

“They have collapsed under the high workload and the stress of supporting so many victims.”

He said the other benefit of the generally understaffed victim services role is to free up officers to investigate crimes. He welcomed any support council can provide.

“So that will be something that I would encourage council to continue to support, and if the availability arises to support it more aggressively, that’d be appreciated from our standpoint,” West said.

Read more: Helping people through the worst days of their lives

Read more: RCMP launch online crime reporting in Salmon Arm



martha.wickett@saobserver.net
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