Local RCMP are training up to address policing priorities, specifically working to improve response to domestic violence, safe planning and sexual assault reporting, said Insp. Alexandre Laporte.
In a presentation to council, the head of the Yellowknife detachment outlined policing priorities, including an increased presence in school zones, greater visibility in the downtown core, enforcement against drugs, gangs and alcohol and interventions for high-needs users.
One of the RCMP territorial priorities is domestic violence, with an emphasis on prevention and quality of education, said Laporte.
Data provided during the presentation showed there were 38 ODARA reports – a type of report conducted to assess risk of future assaults against intimate partners in 2017.
This year to date, the detachment has produced 26 ODARA reports – 70 per cent of the number of reports made in all of 2017.
Over the last year, RCMP have conducted education sessions in schools on healthy relationships, with an emphasis on prevention to bring down domestic violence and sexual assaults, said Laporte.
RCMP are receiving additional training on the quality of interviews conducted with victims, and “being aware of the trauma that they went through, and being sensitive,” said Laporte in an interview with Yellowknifer.
“Our members are getting some enhanced training in this area,” he said, including quality of supervision to ensure investigations are completed in a timely manner.
The training aims to “create an environment where sex assault victims are willing to come forward, and tell their story and hold offenders accountable,” said Laporte.
Education on what the justice system looks like can be a “road block” for victims.
“We realized, as a police agency and as a society that we need to provide that support so that victims understand the way forward,” he said.
RCMP has one community services position that educates different schools in Yellowknife, including in Dettah and Ndilo.
“We recognize that early prevention is important and we have a role to play,” he said.
RCMP can’t release specific changes to the interview process, to protect its investigative tactics.
“For us, it’s creating that environment … this is not easy for them. So creating that environment and having that support and transitioning to a police station. Having an environment and people who are supportive and understanding, and asking the right questions, this has been somewhat of a focus with working with victims services,” he said.
More talk about four-year terms
City councillors are divided over whether a possible four-year term should be instituted in 2018 or 2021.
During a municipal services meeting Tuesday, councillors Linda Bussey and Rebecca Alty and Mayor Mark Heyck supported a 2021 implementation date.
Councillor Adrian Bell asked that the matter be deferred until additional councillors were present. Bell and Coun. Julian Morse both supported a 2018 start date for four-year terms, if a public vote goes in favour of increasing term limits. Coun. Niels Konge won’t support a four year term either way, he said.
“I’d go down to two-year terms,” Konge said, in jest.
Council will revisit the matter in the coming weeks.