A new integrated community safety initiative (ICSI) will strengthen collaboration among justice, health, and social service partners to better address the roots of crime and violence in the region.
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Morris made the announcement Tuesday morning and says it was a long time coming.
“This was part of the money that was announced by the Premier at UBCM last fall and it’s part of our Guns and Gangs Initiative. It’s part in parcel to the Blue Ribbon panel that did a review of policing across the province here and came up with some recommendations in 2014.”
Morris adds that he thinks it’s a great initiative to engage the community.
“I’ve said it for years, the police are merely a resource within the community, but it’s the community that determines how safe it should be and I think it’s time that everybody steps up to the plate as a community, as a community member to make it work.”
The integrated community safety initiative comes to the Cariboo-Chilcotin through $500,000 in civil forfeiture grant funding.
A local steering committee will prioritize and guide targeted projects and activities over a two year period, in which Morris says although he will not have a role he will be watching to see how it rolls out.
“I’ve had some discussion with them. There are some very talented people on the steering committee themselves from a broad sector of service within the public so there’s a lot of talent there. I think that by leaving it in there very capable hands they’ll come up with the best models for the various communities that we have.”
Areas the local steering committee will oversee include regional collaboration on public safety issues, training and community capacity building to enhance front-line response, as well as programs and services to better prevent and respond to crime.
In 2014, Williams Lake ranked first in violent crime severity among more than 300 Canadian municipalities with a population over 10,000, according to Statistics Canada.