All Victoria police officers could be assigned frontline duties due to COVID outbreak

A ministry statement said that, for the first time, it is adopting a clause in its contract with its police union that allows the potential assignment of all officers to frontline duties.

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The Victoria Police Department is preparing to move all of its available officers to frontline policing duties as it anticipates staff shortages caused by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

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A ministry statement said that, for the first time, it is adopting a clause in its contract with its police union that allows the potential assignment of all officers to frontline duties.

This work includes everything related to service to the public, such as traffic or crowd control, criminal investigations and arrests.

The statement said the change begins this weekend as some officers from Victoria will be redeployed to the patrol division to respond to calls for help.

Police, fire departments, school boards and health care facilities are among the many agencies and businesses in British Columbia that are making plans in case large numbers of workers declare themselves ill as COVID cases would increase.

More than a third of Prince Rupert firefighters were sick or isolated on Thursday and the Professional Firefighters Association says while COVID is rippling across the province, fire departments are responding to staffing needs in a variety of ways.

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Victoria Police Chief Del Manak said maintaining the continuity of police operations is critical during the pandemic.

“I am extremely grateful to our officers who adjust their schedules and schedules to serve on the front line, ensuring the citizens of Victoria and Esquimalt know that when they call 911, a uniformed officer will answer their question. call for help, ”Manak said. in the statement.

A spokesperson for the Victoria City Police Union said the situation was being watched and the union hopes COVID infections will abate quickly so its members can return to their regular duties and hours.

The health ministry said its latest data from Dec. 15-24 showed around 8,700 health workers were absent due to short-term illness. The government said there are approximately 216,000 health care workers in the system.

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The ministry said the illnesses could be due to COVID-19 or some other reason, as health officials do not require staff to state the reason for the sick leave.

“Each health authority has contingency plans in place to ensure the people of British Columbia continue to receive quality care when they need it,” he said in an email. “This can include redeployment, backup pools, overtime or agency staff. “

The Provincial Health Services Authority said its most recent data from Jan.4 showed 69 of the province’s 4,000 paramedics and dispatchers were sick, but not necessarily from COVID-19.


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