Plan to move auxiliary officers to policing centre moving forward
By Mark Newman, News Staff
Hamilton Police Service volunteers will be able to share the Concession Street Community Policing Centre with auxiliary officers.
“We really haven’t changed what our volunteers are doing,” said police inspector Scott Rastin of the Community Mobilization Division, which oversees community policing and crime prevention centres.”
In the past police volunteers on the Mountain would be required to drop by the Concession Street centre to sign up for initiatives such as child identification, keeping tabs on speeders, red light runners and distracted drivers.
But under the services’ online scheduling system a visit to the centre is no longer needed.
“They just don’t have to come in there and sign up for shifts anymore,” Rastin said.
He noted volunteers will continue to be able to pick up their florescent vests and other equipment at the Mountain location.
Long-time police volunteer John McPherson recently voiced concerns that the volunteers were being squeezed out of the Concession Street centre.
Rastin said volunteers who had been making follow-up phone calls to break and enter victims fromConcession Street will now be doing that work from the Ancaster crime prevention centre.
The move will allow volunteers to serve the public and staff the Hamilton Police Museumwhich has been relocated to the Wilson Street centre.
Meanwhile, Rastin said they are looking at cleaning up and sprucing up the Concession Streetcentre so it can serve as home base for the crime prevention program run by auxiliary officers.
He said the services’ 80 auxiliary officers will be storing some of their equipment at the centre as well as meet there periodically.
“More concentration on weekends because that’s when they do business blitzes,” said Rastin, who noted auxiliary officers provide break and enter prevention audits for home owners and businesses for free and are available to speak about crime prevention to business and community groups.
“All that is coordinated through Concession Street,” Rastin said.
Carlo Gorni, executive director of the Concession Street Business Improvement Area, said the crime prevention service will be welcomed by the business owners.
“I would think the businesses would appreciate that especially if they’ve had some issues in the past,” Gorni said.
Gone are the days when the Concession Street centre was open during business hours and a volunteer was on hand to take reports or complaints from the public.
Those matters are now handled by are crime managers out of the Division 3 police station on Rymal Road near Upper Wentworth.
Rastin said he wants to speak to the owners of the Zoetic Theatre on Concession Street (who also owns the policing centre property) about the possibility of extending their lease in the coming weeks.
The current lease expires at the end of October.
“We are committed to having a presence on Concession Street,” Rastin said.