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New community safety plan will deal with policing issues, says City of Kelowna

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City of Kelowna staff are setting out to create a new community safety plan.

“Community safety is about reducing crime, criminality and victimization in our community, as well as increasing the community’s sense of safety,” Darren Caul, the city’s director of community safety, told Global News on Tuesday.

Amongst other things, the new plan, once penned, will endeavour to deal with the hot-button issue of policing in the community.

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“We need to examine the role of police and what we expect of police. We cannot rely on police alone to address all of the risk factors, said Caul.

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The project received almost unanimous approval in council chambers on Monday.

“We’re relying on policing, which is our bluntest, most expensive tool to deal with some of the most sensitive issues in our community,” said Kelowna city councillor Loyal Woolridge.

“And that’s not just here, that’s globally, and so we have to begin to address this in a holistic way.”

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Councillor Ryan Donn was the lone voice of dissent when it came to voting on the plan’s terms of reference and its steering committee.

“We 100 per cent need a community safety plan,” Donn said.

Citing his reason for voting against it, Donn feels the project is going to lack proper public input.

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“My concerns were all about the lack of public, general public, or politicians on that committee,” Donn said.

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But Caul is promising some form of public engagement.

“The public will most certainly have a role in this,” said Caul, adding the plan is in its very early phases.

Once the best practices plan is finished, Caul says the plan will move towards strategic outcomes and tangible actions.

City staff are hoping to deliver the new community safety plan to council by next spring.