Building has rarely been used in recent years
PORT ELGIN, N.B. – The New Brunswick RCMP is decommissioning their detachment in Port Elgin, with additional closures planned in Hillsborough and Gagetown.
The RCMP is taking a critical look at its infrastructure as part of modernizing the RCMP in New Brunswick, RCMP assistant commissioner Wayne Lang said in a recent e-mail.
“Policing is different today than it was 15 or 20 years ago…Modern policing is less reliant on bricks and mortar than ever.”
New Brunswick has 56 RCMP detachments, some 20 to 30 km apart, while Nova Scotia has 37, said Lang.
“This is one of the highest numbers of RCMP offices per capita in the country.”
The RCMP is considering operational necessity, proximity to another detachment, and infrastructure age and cost in deciding which buildings will be decommissioned, said RCMP media relations officer Chantal Farrah in a recent e-mail.
“The Port Elgin office was not being used regularly and police officers already report to work in Sackville.”
Port Elgin mayor Judy Scott said the decommissioning of Port Elgin’s RCMP detachment isn’t going to have a huge impact.
“They weren’t open for the past few years, anyway…we pretty well saw it coming.”
It is more realistic to replace the Port Elgin detachment than it is to repair it, said Farrah.
“The building itself is 54 years old, and well past its life cycle. It required about $90,000 in repairs in the short term.”
There will still be police officers assigned to Port Elgin, said Farrah.
The decommissioning of the Port Elgin detachment was decided on by not only the RCMP, but the community and province as well, said Farrah.
Although the New Brunswick RCMP plans on downsizing to between 12 and 15 from 56 detachments across the province, the majority of changes focus on the RCMP’s internal management structure, said Lang.
“We have begun using civilian employees to help us in key areas.”
Some of those employees are crime analysts, who help the RCMP identify crime trends and individuals who commit a great number of crimes, in order to be more effective at targeting repeat and chronic offenders, said Lang.
Along with this, the RCMP now has Community Program Officers, who deliver a variety of programs and work with young people to reduce youth crime and victimization, said Lang. Since 2009, over 1,300 youth have been diverted from the criminal justice system in favour of more “community-based” forms of intervention.
“Overall youth crime and the severity of youth crime are both down 30 per cent in the province.”
The RCMP is committed to ensuing citizens get the service their tax dollars pay for, said Lang.
“We aim to achieve this by reducing administration-not services- while still allowing for the continued investment in strategies that have proven successful in reducing crime and making our communities safer.”