RCMP around B.C. are maintaining their core policing services and working to keep the public safe amid disruptions caused by COVID-19. Detachments are continually assessing their delivery service and program options and reducing front-counter services and enhancing precautions, including those on the frontline, where necessary.
BC RCMP released some information on March 30 outlying a few things people can expect when the RCMP respond to your call for service.
Firstly, callers might be asked some additional questions when they contact 911 or the local non-emergency line. These new questions are focused on whether anyone is in the caller’s home, or at the scene of an incident, has been diagnose with COVID-19 or exhibiting any of its symptoms. These measures are in place to help ensure the safety of both the police and the public.
“We ask that the public listen closely and provide accurate and honest answers to these questions. It’s important to note that a risk of potential exposure to COVID-19 will not stop our police officers from attending priority calls in your community,” read the release. “These questions allow our frontline officer to appropriately prepare for their attendance to the scene, allowing them to take the necessary steps to keep themselves and others safe.”
Officers may be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), depending on the situation they’re responding to. This could include a face mask, disposable gloves and protective eye wear.
In specialized, plain clothes units, including General Investigation Sections (GIS), Major Crime Units (MCU) or Traffic Services, enforcement officers or forensic specialists may wear PPE while on the job.
“We recognize that this change in our appearance may be somewhat alarming to the public, but please understand that this measure is only taken in order to ensure everyone’s health and safety.”
RCMP added that an officer wearing PPE is not necessarily responding to a call pertaining to COVID-19, but to limit any potential exposure to it.
Calls are assessed on an individual basis, so some officers may not be wearing PPE and some may be taking additional measures. Officers may also use their discretion to put PPE on people taken into custody as well.
The RCMP has also implemented rigorous cleaning protocols on all equipment, police vehicles and facilities. The priorities include disinfecting high-touch areas and decontaminating fleet vehicles or facilities that are believed to have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
“While the provincial and federal governments have put significant measures in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCMP in BC is taking additional measures to combat crime, while our communities are being impacted.”
The RCMP added that they are implementing new measures to target offenders who seek to take advantage from this difficult situation. This includes increased visibility in communities to deter individuals who may be looking to commit a crime as companies temporarily close down.
“We are monitoring and making sure our presence is known in areas that contain businesses that are closed down for the duration, to help offset any potential criminal activity. If anyone sees anything suspicious, they are being asked to call their local police or if necessary 9-1-1.”