VicPD to pull officers from integrated units to make up for frontline shortfall

The staffing shuffle is required to accommodate for frontline officers who cannot work due to injuries, according to VicPD Chief Del Manak. (CTV Vancouver Island)

The Victoria Police Department says it is pulling its officers from three integrated regional policing units and redeploying them to the city’s patrol division to deal with a shortfall of frontline officers.

The department has seven officers deployed among the Capital Regional District’s Integrated Road Safety Unit, the provincial Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team. Those officers will be reassigned to the patrol division on Nov. 7.

The staffing shuffle is required to accommodate for frontline officers who cannot work due to injuries, according to the department.

“The volume, complexity and severity of calls have placed a tremendous strain on our patrol division that is neither acceptable nor sustainable,” Chief Del Manak said in a video statement released by the department Wednesday.

“When citizens call for help, they expect that an officer will arrive to help them quickly,” Manak added. “Without this change and further changes, VicPD cannot maintain that basic level of service. These integrated units do important work, keeping our roads safe, investigating and disrupting organized crime groups, and monitoring and investigating national security threats. We do not take the decision to redeploy these officers lightly, but we have to prioritize for our community.”

Thirty-nine of the department’s 249 officers are currently unable to work in a response capacity for various reasons, including injuries, according to the department.

In 2018, VicPD reassigned six officers, including three school liaison officers, to its patrol division to increase the department’s frontline presence. In 2019, the department disbanded its crime reduction unit to further increase its street-level numbers.