Iqaluit RCMP plans summer ATV patrols to improve public safety

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The Sylvia Grinnell River in summer. RCMP in Iqaluit are set to launch summer ATV patrols in the park, and elsewhere in the capital.  (Jane George/CBC - image credit)
The Sylvia Grinnell River in summer. RCMP in Iqaluit are set to launch summer ATV patrols in the park, and elsewhere in the capital. (Jane George/CBC - image credit)

The Iqaluit RCMP plans to boost its presence in Iqaluit once again this summer by adding all-terrain vehicle patrols to its regular foot and cruiser patrols.

"The Iqaluit RCMP is committed to public safety in the community it serves. They have implemented RCMP ATV patrols in the city, for the summer," a police release said Wednesday.

The ATV patrols will take place on the beach, in the playgrounds around Iqaluit and Apex, at the airport and at Sylvia Grinnell Park.

The RCMP urged members of the public to talk with the police officers on patrol.

"It is a way for the community to get to know them and for the police to learn more about the people they serve," the release said.

The RCMP announcement only came days after a private vehicle, perhaps making a wrong turn, crashed into a gate that leads to Sylvia Grinnell park.

The increase in police service also follows a call made last week in the Nunavut legislature by Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes.

'You want to have that police ... presence'

During question period on June 13, Hickes, justice minister in the previous government, told the current Justice Minister Craig Simailak that he wanted to see the RCMP conduct more safety patrols in the city, on foot and ATVs.

In addition to patrols on Iqaluit's beach and downtown, Hickes said he wanted to see more police presence outside the city.

"The amount of campers around the park area or by the causeway has increased dramatically," he said. "A lot of people haven't been traveling in the last couple of years, so there have been a lot more people taking advantage of the summer months, camping and sometimes there's disruptions and it's not always the best experience."

Last summer, a group of concerned citizens in Iqaluit's Lower Base neighbourhood also called for an increase in patrols, citing daily instances of violence by the beach.

Hickes told CBC that he was pleased to see the ATV patrols return.

"Especially in the summertime," Hickes said. "You get public intoxication, and you want to have that police and bylaw presence so people are more aware of where they are."

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