UPDATED: Neighbourhood Groups Lobby Police Commission Again To Restore Community Policing

Posted on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 14:08 PM

A combined pitch from five neighbourhood groups to the Saint John police commission last night on how vital community policy is to vulnerable communities in Saint John and a request to restore it.
 

Dedicated police officers no longer work day to day in the five priority neighbourhoods after budget cuts late last year.

Barry Galloway of O.N.E. Change says when you are dealing with the levels of poverty that Saint John has, a natural repercussion is that people are dealing with a lot of mental health issues and sometimes people might turn to a criminal activity because they feel they have no other recourse.

"

With our community policing program we have been able to look at the challenges we are dealing with on an ongoing basis and come up with strategies to deal with that in a more positive way instead of it leading to incarceration for people" Galloway said.

The group would like to see the community policy program restored but with each officers term extended to five years.

They also want the program measured to determine its success and to identify any gaps and see an advisory team created with community groups, police management and residents.
 

Saint John Police Chief John Bates says fewer community policing officers doesn't mean less policing.

"I don't want to minimize or diminish what's happened with regard to the community policing program," Bates says "Those specific priority neighbourhoods are not receiving any less police protection than any other neighbourhood in the city".

Police Commission chair Jennifer Carhart tells us a subcommittee work with the neighbourhood associations looking for opportunities and solutions.