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Town of Battleford sees RCMP calls for service down, but drug offences up

Rise in drug offence numbers is good news, says S/Sgt. Jason Teniuk, because it reflects enforcement
Battleford council 2
Battlefords Detachment S/Sgt. Jason Teniuk presents to Battleford town council at their meeting Oct. 18.

BATTLEFORD - There were a few positives to point to in the latest RCMP report for Battleford, with calls for service coming down and some good progress made against drug crime.

The report was, as usual, a mix of good and bad.

“There’s a lot of negative numbers, there’s a lot of positive numbers,” said Battlefords S/Sgt. Jason Teniuk, who presented the report to Battleford's council at their meeting Monday.

In general, calls for service in Battleford are down from last year, but one area saw a big spike. Town of Battleford numbers saw a 150 per cent increase in drug offences.

“That is a good thing,” said Teniuk. He called that increase a direct result of the work of the Gang Task Force, which is tasked to make arrests and get drugs off the street. 

The point Teniuk was making, one that he made at previous council meetings, was that the increase in the numbers reflected greater enforcement and arrests being made, and that would help with the numbers for other crimes.

“When you have 150 per cent increase in something like that, that’s going to make the other areas come down quite significantly.”

There is also a 45 per cent increase in drug offences in the detachment area overall. 

That is a direct result of calls for service going down. For this quarter last year there were 8,806 calls for service for the detachment, and that has decreased to 7,479 this quarter

For the town, the decrease was 41 calls, which was “not a great deal but still enough to make a difference,” said Teniuk.

Drug enforcement has had an impact with the Gang Task Force seizing $250,000 worth of cocaine. 

He said that would make a significant impact, but one side-effect Teniuk noted was that they typically see more property crime happening. 

“As those drugs are harder to come by, people have to get more income to pay for them,” he said of the uptick in property crime.

Fortunately, “on this side we have not seen a lot of that, so that’s good,” Teniuk added, though he indicated North Battleford was a different story.

Regarding staffing at the detachment, Staff.-Sgt. Teniuk indicated there are still staffing shortages. They remained down a few positions, but “we’re holding our own”, said Teniuk. 

What has helped has been the fewer calls for service. “Less work results in less burned out people,” said Teniuk. 

He also noted they were not in “too bad a shape” compared to other detachments that were “really struggling.”

“We could always use more people but at this point we’ll hold our own and we’ll keep moving forward.”