There’s no quick fix to complex issues, said Police Chief Bryan Larkin at Monday’s Police Services Board meeting.
It comes as parts of the community have called for the reallocation of funds to social services, which are meant to prevent the root causes that lead to crime.
While Larkin has long championed those social services and does not believe police should be the first responders to mental health crises, he noted that provincial and federal regulation have to change before we see such a shift locally.
Policy changes like that take time.
“I think we also live in a world, and understandably so, of people who want quick fixes to very challenging solutions,” said Larkin. “What we’re trying to right, what we’re trying to improve, needs continued community dialogue and community input, board input, and other Regional department input. I do believe that if we can address poverty, housing, food insecurity, we can also have a long-term impact on crime, but it’s not as simple as turning one tap off, turning the other on. It has to be a blended approach moving forward.”
The elephant in the room was the first iteration of the 2021 budget for Police, which came out as a roughly $8 million increase over last year.
Local advocates for the Black Lives Matter movement, however, have called for a $29.3 million reduction.