The Delta Police Board and the city's mayor are raising serious concerns to the provincial government about E-Comm.
On Dec. 6, Delta Mayor George Harvie, on behalf of the police board which he also chairs, wrote to Public Safety and Solicitor General and Deputy Premier Mike Farnworth expressing the board’s concerns about what they say is E-Comm’s inability to provide necessary call-taking services for the Delta Police Department (DPD) in alignment with the established service standards outlined in its contract.
The letter, which was also sent to Doug Campbell, Board Chair, Emergency Communications for British Columbia Incorp., notes that there have been consistent and ongoing challenges relating to unacceptably long wait times for emergency and non-emergency calls, often leading to abandoned calls.
Abandoned calls contribute to inaccurate crime statistics, impacting the adequacy of policing resources, and police safety strategies, says Harvie.
Havie also notes that “the failure to meet service standards impacts public safety in our community and the province’s mandate to ensure adequate and effective policing. Providing excellence in policing services, including timely response to the citizens who contact the DPD for non-emergency and emergency matters, is a priority for the Delta Police Board (DPB) and the DPD. The DPD is built on a foundation of public trust and the expectation that when a citizen calls for service, the DPD will respond quickly. The 'no call too small' philosophy runs deep in the core of the DPD and is the platform upon which all team members perform their duties.”
The letter states that beginning in 2019 and carrying on through 2021, Delta citizens complained to the DPD about a lack of service, not only in wait times but also in E-Comm’s refusal to create calls for service for matters that the DPD is committed to responding to under the “no call too small” philosophy.
The DPD's management became aware of the concerns and began monitoring call-taking and dispatch data.
DPD management attempted to work with E-Comm management to address the issues and produce a viable solution, to no avail, says Harvie.
"Effectively, we have lost confidence in the leadership of E-Comm to rectify this long-standing issue, which impacts public safety and effective policing," Harvie goes on to say.
The letter requests immediate attention, support and resources from the Ministry of Public Safety.
The Delta Police Board, at a recent meeting, discussed the progress of the department's pilot project in, which it takes non-emergency calls from the public between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily.
Chief Neil Dubord discussed several options including expanding the program, saying Delta won't be refunded for the non-emergency call service hours it is not provided because E-Comm indicated it's either "all or nothing" for its service.
The Optimist will have more on this pilot project in the coming weeks.