June 15, 2019 3:43 pm

B.C. RCMP to roll out online crime reporting pilot project, starting with Surrey

A woman uses her computer keyboard to type while surfing the internet in North Vancouver, B.C., on December 19, 2012. The B.C. RCMP plans to roll out a new online crime reporting pilot project across the province this summer, beginning with Surrey on Monday.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
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Surrey RCMP will become the first detachment in B.C. to unveil a new online crime reporting system before it rolls out across the province this summer.

The pilot project, which is set to launch Monday in Surrey, is being promoted by the B.C. RCMP as a way to modernize and streamline the force’s busy call centre.

More than one million calls are fielded by Mounties across the province every year, authorities said Friday, accounting for nearly half of all calls RCMP receive Canada-wide.

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The tool will allow residents to submit reports of certain non-emergency crimes, including thefts and vandalism, and immediately receive file numbers that can be used for insurance claims and personal records.

That will allow dispatchers and officers to focus their efforts on answering calls for more serious crimes and complete required administrative tasks, the force said.

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Chief Superintendent Dave Attfield said in a statement that the system has been tested by several detachments over the past few years, and has been improved enough to allow the pilot project to go ahead.

“We are always looking for ways of modernizing our policing operations and continue to improve our efforts in responding to calls for service,” Attfield said.

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“This project will help us with those goals so our frontline personnel can focus on higher priority calls and also gives our residents an alternative and immediate way to report less serious offences.”

The service will accept submissions provided the report doesn’t require a followup from a police officer, there’s no witness or suspect, the items or property lost or stolen cost less than $5,000, the repairs required to fix property or a car cost less than $5,000, and those items don’t include personal identity or firearms.

READ MORE: Victoria Police become Canada’s first agency to launch crime reporting app

If the service proves successful in Surrey, the force plans to roll out the pilot project in Ridge Meadows and Kelowna on June 26, and in Richmond on July 3.

Online crime reporting is already offered by police departments in Vancouver and Victoria within similar guidelines to the RCMP pilot project.

B.C. RCMP’s former deputy commissioner Brenda Butterworth-Carr told Global News last year that the force was committed to pushing for further technological advancements, but didn’t mention the online crime reporting tool specifically.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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