Township of Esquimalt: 2022 – Q1

As part of our ongoing Open VicPD transparency initiative, we introduced Community Safety Report Cards as a way to keep everyone up to date with how the Victoria Police Department is serving the public.  These report cards, which are published quarterly in two community-specific versions (one for Esquimalt and one for Victoria), offer both quantitative and qualitative information about crime trends, operational incidents, and community engagement initiatives.  It is hoped that, through this proactive sharing of information, our citizens have a better understanding of how VicPD is working toward its strategic vision of “A Safer Community Together.

Esquimalt Community Information

VicPD continues to make progress towards our three main strategic goals outlined inVicPD Strategic Plan 2020. Specifically, in Q1, the following goal-specific work was accomplished:

Support Community Safety

  • VicPD successfully managed significant protest activity during the first quarter of 2022. January saw an occupation take hold in Ottawa and convoy-style protests targeted the James Bay and B.C. Legislature areas for a period that ultimately lasted over 10 weeks.
  • The Patrol Division continues to manage a heavy call load despite staffing shortages, but remains hopeful that additional resources are forthcoming.
  • Volunteer programs, including Crime Watch, Cell Watch, and Speed Watch, resumed normal operations as public health restrictions eased.

Enhance Public Trust

  • As staffing levels allowed, all sections within the Community Services Division continued to engage our communities through proactive patrols, virtual and in-person community meetings, and projects.
  • VicPD remains committed to ongoing and meaningful public engagement and transparency. To this end, VicPD’s Community Dashboard was updated with the latest 2021 figures, including data related to calls for service, the release of documents to the public, and community satisfaction with VicPD’s service.
  • The easing of public health orders has allowed the re-opening of the front counters in both Victoria and Esquimalt, while citizens continue to be offered many services online as well.

Achieve Organizational Excellence

  • In Q1, VicPD continued to work with the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board as well as both councils regarding the department’s 2022 budget request and associated resource requirements.
  • To meet ongoing and growing resource demands, recruiting for both officers and civilian staff remained a top strategic priority.
  • Implementation of a new Human Resources Information System continues, which promises to streamline a variety of processes across the organization.
Q1 of 2022 saw continued impacts of COVID-19 changes on officers and staff as VicPD continued our response to the emergence of the highly infectious Omicron variant. At the start of the quarter, to ensure our ability to respond to front-line calls for service during potential staffing shortages, the Department notified all officers that they needed to be prepared for redeployment to the front line. This notification marked the first time VicPD has enacted a clause in the collective agreement between the Victoria Police Department and the Victoria City Police Union (VCPU) to allow for this redeployment. Front counter services were again closed and VicPD volunteer programs again paused. However, due to our high vaccination rate, and thanks to sections like the Community Services Division and Investigative Services Division adjusting their schedules to ensure Patrol coverage, VicPD was able to maintain the high standard of service that our citizens expect. Officers returned to regular duties and front counter service and VicPD volunteers resumed on February 22nd.

Esquimalt Division officers and detectives with VicPD’s Major Crime Unit are also continuing their investigation of an armed robbery of a convenience store that occurred shortly after 1 a.m. on January 8th.  VicPD officers responded to a convenience store in the 900-block of Craigflower Road after a report that a suspect pointed a handgun at staff and stole money. Several officers attended the scene immediately, including a unit from the Integrated Canine Service. The suspect was not located but various items were recovered, assisting officers with the ongoing investigation.

Esquimalt Division officers are also continuing their investigation after a 72-year-old man was assaulted and robbed of his wallet and other items while delivering newspapers in the area of Greenwood Avenue and Kinver Street.

Esquimalt Division officers are in the process of investigating a February sexual assault in which a man followed a 16-year-old girl as she left a B.C. Transit bus and then sexually assaulted her. Two people in the area observed what was occurring and intervened. The man fled. This file remains under investigation.

For other notable files, please visit our community updates page.

Community Leaders Group

Insp. Brown and Sgt. Hollingsworth continue to participate in the Community Leaders Group where members of the Esquimalt business and services community share ideas and support one another’s efforts to enhance the Township.

February 17, 2022 – Pink Shirt Kindness Event

Insp. Brown and Cst. Lastiwka attended an ‘early’ Pink Shirt Day event at the Town Square with other community leaders including the Mayor, Councillors, and members of the Esquimalt Fire Department.

Rainbow Kitchen Engagement

Members of the Esquimalt Division continue to engage with the Rainbow Kitchen on a weekly basis. Cst. Renaud participates in food preparation for the ‘Meals on Wheels’ Program and Cst. Fuller recently provided a ‘de-escalation’ presentation to the staff.

Project “Business Connect”

Sgt. Hollingsworth, Cst. Lastiwka and Cst. Fuller continue to support our local business community through “Project Connect.” They attend various businesses in the Township on a weekly basis and engage business owners and staff. This is an ongoing effort to build relationships with the business community and provide crime prevention suggestions.

April 2, 2022 – Esquimalt Lions Bottle Drive & Membership – Cst. Ian Diack

Cst. Diack, who is a long-standing member of the Esquimalt Patrol Division, recently assisted with an Esquimalt Lions Bottle Drive and was also inducted as their newest member!

At the end of Q1 the net financial position is approximately 1.4% over budget. Revenues are below budget at 9.9% but are expected to increase as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. Capital commitments are at 52% due to the carryover of purchases from 2021 and are expected to remain within budget. Total operating expenditures are 0.8% over budget. Salaries and benefits are high in the first two quarters due to the timing of benefit costs and are expected to fall below budget in the second half of the year. Overtime costs remain high as a result of maintaining front-line minimums whilst we continue to experience staffing shortages and work-related injuries. A portion of the requested overtime budget was not approved by councils which will contribute to overtime overages. Other expenditures are in line with expectations and expected to remain within budget.