Victoria police chief warns more changes to come
Victoria police Chief Del Manak speaks with CTV News on July 3, 2019. (CTV Vancouver Island)
Victoria can expect more cuts and changes to the city's police services, the city's top cop warns.
Police Chief Del Manak tells CTV News that a new report will be released this month highlighting 14 "areas of review" where the police service is looking to "find efficiencies" to save money.
Last week the Victoria Police Department terminated its eight-member crime reduction unit, ostensibly to reinforce the ranks of the city's frontline patrol officers.
Prior to that announcement, VicPD announced it was rolling back the hours of its front desk staff in order to deploy that officer to the streets as well.
The announcements have come amid strained relations between the police and city hall over Victoria's police budget.
Following the Victoria-Esquimalt police board meeting of July 16, VicPD will release its report outlining further areas for potential reductions in police services.
"We only have so much money that we can spend," Manak says. "I've got significant challenges on our front lines with over 35 police officers that are non-deployable. That is creating major challenges for us to be able to do our job properly and keep our community safe."
Manak acknowledged that the announcement of further reductions is "not great news" for Victoria residents but added he hopes "these challenges are short-lived."
The police chief said he has "a tremendous amount of respect" for Victoria city councillors but added that public safety is his only concern.
"You can fix roads and do all the other initiatives that the city takes on," Manak said. "But one of the key, core municipal responsibilities is keeping its citizens safe."