CBRM seeks online crime reporting system to ease police burden

·2 min read
Cape Breton police say the online approach would free officers up for other assignments. (Holly Connors/CBC - image credit)
Cape Breton police say the online approach would free officers up for other assignments. (Holly Connors/CBC - image credit)

People in Cape Breton Regional Municipality may soon be able to connect with police by smartphone or computer.

CBRM has issued a tender for an online reporting system that would cover a variety of matters that do not require a visit from an officer.

The new system is expected to relieve some of the non-emergency phone calls police get, said Christa Dicks, manager of the municipality's 911 and 311 lines.

"People want to be able to file reports differently than what they do and sometimes they want to be able to add additional information into their file," she said.

"So this offers them an opportunity where they don't have to come into the police station, or we are not sending an officer out."

Halifax already has online reporting for non-emergency matters, including lost or stolen items, property damage or vehicle collisions.

The system emails the complainant a police file number they can use to track the matter or send to an insurance company.

Dicks said CBRM is looking for something similar, but no decisions have been made on what kinds of reports should be taken online. That may depend on the results of the tender, she said.

Avoiding face-to-face police meetings

The non-emergency phone line, 902-563-5151, will remain active and the 911 phone line will still be used for emergencies, said Dicks.

The system is intended to make some police interactions easier for residents, she said, but it should also help police.

"For the non-emergency line ... we do get a lot of, I'd say, routine type of calls, so yes, this would help to alleviate some of the pressures that are there," she said.

Dicks said during the pandemic, it became clear that some people would rather not deal with police face to face.

"In a time when a lot of people have smartphones on them, we want to offer additional platforms for them to engage with police," she said.

The tender closes on July 14 and Dicks said she hopes a decision will be made as soon as possible after that.


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