Kelowna RCMP and B.C. prosecutors offer differing takes on criminal case backlog

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Triance . Global News

Kelowna’s top cop is standing by her recent assertion that there’s a backlog of cases awaiting attention from the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) and that’s emboldening criminals who aren’t seeing any repercussions for their actions.

Supt. Kara Triance told Kelowna city council that the number of property offences awaiting assessment by the BC Prosecution Service was high, and those files not being processed in a timely fashion has resulted in criminals going back out on the streets, committing more crimes before being processed.

In the wake of that report, the BC Prosecution Service offered a different set of numbers that indicated they were moving along at a decent pace.

In the annual report for 2020-21, a year earlier than the timeframe Triance was referencing, the prosecution service reported the following:

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  • 40 per cent of assessments were completed the day the file was received;
  • 46 per cent within three days;
  • 57 per cent within seven days;
  • 68 per cent within 15 days;
  • 79 per cent were assessed within 30 days of the receipt of a police file.

“These figures are for the entire province, so there will be minor regional variations but we are confident these numbers are accurate,” reads the statement.


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In an email sent out on Wednesday, RCMP addressed the “conflicting information.”

“In my response to questions from council about the backlog of files with Crown Counsel, I provided the information based on our system which is different from how BC Prosecution Services tracks these files,” said Supt. Kara Triance.

“We are working closely with the BC Prosecution Service to provide more accurate and consistent information that will help all of us better understand what needs to be done to address property crime in our community.”

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RCMP said the information provided was based on the number of court files sent to BC Prosecution Services, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada as well as the Integrated Court, accounting for a higher number of files.

“What is important to note is that of the 1,084 property crime charges filed in 2021, 884, or 78 per cent, are still in various stages of the court process which could include charge assessment, charge approvals, trials or resolutions,” Supt. Triance said.

“Those who are arrested one day with committing a property-related offence such as: theft or break-in, can be back on the street the next. Prolific property offenders are at large in the community and continue to commit crime while their matters are dealt with in court. This not only means that our officers are having to respond to crimes that occurred, we are re-arresting many individuals numerous times for multiple property crime offences.”

In terms of the differences between Kelowna RCMP statistics and those of BC Prosecution Services, the Kelowna RCMP said tracking systems are different than the systems used by BC Prosecution Service.

“The data we track is also different. For example, our systems track a court file at the beginning phase and the end phase of the judicial process, we do not track the status of files as they move through the judicial court process,” RCMP said.

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The systems used by the Kelowna RCMP and BC Prosecution Service operate independently from one another. The Kelowna RCMP pulls from a database that shows a file pending court decisions or the status of the disposition (i.e., file closed).

Of the 3,358 charges sent to the Crown as mentioned in Triance’s presentation to council, 2,675 may not be in “charge assessment” but rather at one of the various stages of the judicial process, reflecting the difference in how the two organizations track files.

The Kelowna RCMP works in partnership with BC Prosecution Service and their senior management teams meet monthly.

“This is the first time we have reported to the community on these statistics and are looking at ways to improve clarity on this data as we move forward,” RCMP said.

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“We are always striving to improve our collaboration with our partners in Prosecution and are working on how account for our different processes and share this important information with our community through timely and important updates as we track the status of court files and produce data.”

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