Victoria police offering $20K incentive to recruit experienced officers

·2 min read
The Victoria Police Department is facing a shortage of frontline officers. (Ken Mizokoshi/CBC - image credit)
The Victoria Police Department is facing a shortage of frontline officers. (Ken Mizokoshi/CBC - image credit)

The Victoria Police Department needs new recruits and it's willing to pay for them.

VicPD is now offering a one-time $20,000 payment to experienced police officers willing to relocate to the B.C. capital's force.

The offer is on the table for 12 experienced officers as the department tries to recruit already-trained cops to address front-line staffing shortages.

"While Victoria is a beautiful place to live and work, it is one of the most expensive places in Canada to live," said Chief Del Manak in a statement.

"With over 35 officers unable to be deployed to frontline duty, the hard limits on training spaces available to us and the timelines required to recruit and train new officers, we need to hire the best police officers from across Canada to relocate and serve here."

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, who co-chairs the police board, says many employers in the private sector are offering incentives to try to fill staffing shortages: "So it's a strategic decision to do this, and the idea is to get the gap filled as soon as possible."

In the case of VicPD, the shortages are due to injury, parental leave, and training.

Union spokesperson Matt Waterman says not only are some of his members out because of workplace injury, but they don't feel supported by council and the public. He says Victoria is no longer an attractive place for police officers to work, because of conversations around police funding and criticisms about police handling mental health calls.

"It goes to people trying to slam the police for for what we do. And it's just not fair to the average person who's trying to do a very difficult job," said Waterman. He says he supports the incentive program, and hopes it works.

All officers serving in B.C. must meet provincial policing standards.

According to VicPD, experienced police officers working in other Canadian police departments can be hired and deployed to frontline service after qualifying with B.C. policing standards.

VicPD does not currently provide relocation or travel expenses for experienced officers hired from other jurisdictions.

With files from Kathryn Marlow

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