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New head for RCMP in N.L. wants to take a hard look at staffing

RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador Assistant Commissioner Ches W. Parsons was a special guest at the Nov. 29 Conception Bay North Joint Council meeting in Brigus.
RCMP Newfoundland and Labrador Assistant Commissioner Ches W. Parsons was a special guest at the Nov. 29 Conception Bay North Joint Council meeting in Brigus. - Andrew Robinson

Acknowledges Avalon Peninsula is a growing region with changing needs for policing

BRIGUS, N.L.

The new leader for the RCMP in Newfoundland and Labrador told a room full of municipal leaders representing Conception Bay North that he knows there’s a need for more officers in the region.

Assistant Commissioner Ches W. Parsons, a native Newfoundlander who took on the position earlier this fall, told attendees of the Thursday, Nov. 29 C.B.N. Joint Council meeting he intends to take a look at how officers are currently being deployed.

“We have to take a look at population bases … and then reallocate resources and restructure the resources we have,” Parsons told the meeting, held at the Brigus Recreation Centre.

Parsons said staffing levels for detachments are a concern across Canada, adding there is an active desire to close the gaps where they exist. He noted there are many officers originally from Newfoundland and Labrador who are keen to return home.

“We want to bring people back,” he said.

One possibility Parsons may entertain, he said, would be a return to the district policing model for the area. The Trinity-Conception detachment used to serve both regions now handled by the Harbour Grace and Bay Roberts detachments, with the former serving as the main office. The Bay Roberts building underwent extensive renovations once it was re-established as a full detachment in 2016.

“I think that’s a little bit more efficient in terms of the communities we serve,” he said with respect to the district policing model.

Taking a look at the demographics of the province, Parsons said the Avalon Peninsula is clearly a growing area.

“We can’t kid ourselves. Bay Roberts, I remember when I was going to university years and years ago, it was a small town. It’s more like a small city, and it has all the issues and challenges.”

Beyond traffic complaints, Parsons said organized crime and drugs are problems his officers need to tackle in the area, and such serious matters deserve a properly resourced police service.

“We’re taking a long hard look at that,” he said. “I couldn’t give you an exact (figure) as to how many more you’ll need, but definitely we have to take a look at some reshuffling of the deck here in the province.”

editor@cbncompass.ca

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