The Port aux Basques RCMP no longer has a sergeant in charge of the detachment, with the recent transfer of the officer in the position to the Stephenville detachment. This news has not been taken lightly by the Port aux Basques Town Council.
When seeking an explanation, Council was told by RCMP top provincial officials that because of the absence of a new policing contract with the Provincial Government, it left the RCMP with a shortfall in the millions. The RCMP, like the Province, has been forced to pull its resources to address priorities. Thus, Port aux Basques, which traditionally had upwards of 9 officers, and statistically not being a busy detachment based on the number of calls for police assistance, no longer qualifies as meeting established RCMP criteria for the position of sergeant – nor will PAB see replacements for vacant positions at the detachment anytime soon. Port aux Basques will retain a Corporal position, but critical decisions on police operations will be coordinated through Stephenville.
Transferring the position out is a huge loss to PAB (while to the benefit of the Stephenville operation), and leaves the Gateway to the province and the entire Southwest region – from South Branch to LaPoile – with 6 positions.
Council will continue to voice its concern for more officers for the local detachment. Having to seek assistance from other detachments, such as Stephenville, with 29 positions for support, is totally inadequate – leading to a possible increase in wait times, and critical hours of minimum service to the Southwest region, which has over 9 000 residents.
The area is faced with unique political circumstances (i.e. Gateway to province), seeing thousands of transients during the busy summer season, and geographic circumstances – at times being entirely cut off from the rest of the province.
This requires a greater police presence, not less.