Policing priorities passed from the territory’s Minister of Justice Tracy-Anne McPhee to Yukon RCMP Chief Superintendent Scott Sheppard will keep law enforcement on the same track as the previous year.
The 2022-23 policing priorities made public by the government on April 28 use much of the same language as the priorities for 2021-2022 listed in the Yukon RCMP’s annual report.
The priorities set for the coming 2022-23 aim to:
- enhance policing targeted at the opioid and hard drug crisis;
- increase public trust;
- enhance prevention, investigation and enforcement activities related to violence against women, girls and the LGBTQ2S+ population;
- strengthen relationships with First Nations and First Nation governments and continue to implement First Nation policing activities;
- strengthen relationships with communities and partners and continue to implement community policing initiatives; and
- engage with and support children and youth.
The priorities are set by the minister of Justice based on input from the Yukon Police Council, the department of justice and community partners.
“Our Yukon policing priorities reflect the unique challenges the territory faces and guide the RCMP in their continued work to support stronger communities, better support Yukon First Nations, and help address the Substance Use Health Emergency in the territory,” McPhee said.
In response to the priorities set out by the government, the Opposition Yukon Party issued a statement claiming the governing Liberals have not been backing up the priorities with the necessary resources for police in the territory.
“While we are pleased to see enhanced policing targeted at the opioid and hard drug crisis as a priority, that commitment is just lip service unless the government provides RCMP the resources they need to follow through,” said Yukon Party justice critic Brad Cathers.
“We remain concerned about the deputy premier’s dismissiveness of funding issues raised by the chief superintendent of the RCMP. It’s time for action, not more hollow words from the minister.”
The Yukon Party’s criticism draws on recent statements from Sheppard regarding the reassignment of officers from other units to the drug and organized-crime focused Crime Reduction Unit and other considerations regarding resources and staffing for the Yukon RCMP .
“The official Opposition also supported the RCMP’s call for a Drug Enforcement Unit to deal specifically with enforcement, alongside harm reduction and treatment, as part of an overall strategy to combat the opioid crisis. As usual, the deputy premier instead ignored any suggestions,” the Yukon Party statement reads.
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