B.C. launching ‘hubs’ to address repeat violent offenders
In an effort to crack down on crimes committed by repeat violent offenders, the B.C. government is establishing a dozen “hubs” to handle such cases.
The province announced on Wednesday that 12 hubs will be established as part of the Repeat Violent Offending Intervention Initiative. They will involve police, dedicated prosecutors, and probation officers working together to tackle repeat offenders.
The hubs are part of the province’s Special Investigation and Targeted Enforcement (SITE) program, which has received a $16 million investment over three years.
Multiple areas throughout the Lower Mainland will see hubs established, including Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, and Abbotsford. Elsewhere in the province, Nanaimo, Victoria, Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Prince George, Williams Lake, and Terrace will also be getting the specialized programs.
The province says the units will be set up to meet the “unique needs” of the communities in which they’re located.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community, wherever they live,” said B.C. public safety minister, Mike Farnworth. “The rise in repeat violent offending is top of mind for British Columbians and it’s also a top priority for our government. We’re taking action by standing up 12 hubs throughout B.C. to harness the expertise and experience that will disrupt repeat violent offending and make a real difference in B.C. neighbourhoods.”
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B.C. attorney general Niki Sharma says addressing crimes by repeat offenders can be challenging.
“These are tough challenges that require a co-ordinated approach. That’s why we’re investing in dedicated Crown counsel to provide criminal law advice, and independent prosecutorial support and services to support the hubs and help build safer, more just communities,” she said.
The Surrey RCMP’s deputy commissioner, Dwayne McDonald, welcomes the establishment of the new hubs.
“The new Specialized Investigation and Targeted Enforcement program is a step in the right direction. SITE will enhance public safety by adding to the investigative options available to police in B.C. It will also strengthen co-ordination and information sharing between police agencies, similar to the successes achieved with B.C.’s Provincial Tactical Enforcement Priority, which SITE is modelled after,” he said.
The latest initiative is part of the BC NDP’s Safer Communities Action Plan, which has also included $230 million for specialized RCMP units, expanding mental health response in communities, and introducing “unexplained wealth order” legislation.