I attended a special joint Police Board/Council meeting on March 26, to review and talk about the Oak Bay Police Department’s 2013-2017 Strategic Plan, completed and introduced in February 2013. The Plan represents “an extensive internal and community consultation process” designed to serve as a “road map” or guide to the future development of our police services.
What I appreciated about the Plan was not only the information provided, but also the Core Values upon which the Plan and the policing environment are established. Department core values include the recognition and importance of:
- human dignity, empathy, compassion and fairness;
- accepting and supporting cultural diversity;
- professionalism in all aspects of the Department and its service delivery to the community; and,
- strong ethical and moral behaviour.
The Plan identifies a series of strategic directions, as follows:
- Reducing crime and enhancing public safety.
- Integration – levering area expertise and sharing resources.
- Community engagement – getting the community involved and aware of what we do.
- Developing our employees – our greatest resource.
Within each of these goals are specific strategies to take the Department forward over the next five years.
The preparation of the Plan included the use of a community survey of questions on personal safety, nature of contact with the Department and evaluation of response, rating importance of various community crime prevention programs and services, identifying other police services that are needed and suggestions/ideas for improvement.
Overall, it seems that Oak Bay residents and business owners who responded to the survey are pleased with local policing and the majority support the current model of police programming, that is, retention of an independent police force with some integrated services.
Finally, it is comforting to know that between 2001 and 2010, the crime rate in Oak Bay was down by eight points, and that Oak Bay is considered one of the safest communities in British Columbia. Congratulations to the Oak Bay Police Department for an excellent report, available online at the Oak Bay municipal website.