Prince George RCMP are sounding the alarm about how much time and effort is put in to dealing with chronically intoxicated people, particularly in the downtown core.
“Every year the Prince George RCMP respond to thousands of reports of intoxicated persons in our community,” reads a statement issued by the Prince George police. “These reports are largely associated to persons intoxicated by alcohol in public locations, mostly in the downtown core or Gateway areas of the city.
“Frontline officers attend these calls for the safety of those involved, not usually as a criminal investigation. Many of these persons are unable to take care of themselves and find themselves in police cells until sober. This is done for their safety, as they have nowhere to go and no responsible person to take care of them.
“Our officers certainly get to know those intoxicated persons that come into contact with us the most. These persons are known as social chronic offenders. In Prince George, the top 10 social chronic offenders have been the subjects of 1,045 police files from September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019. An average of over 100 files each.
“At the top of that list is a 37-year-old man who was involved in 151 police files and spent over 100 days or nights in cells sobering up during that one year period. Sometimes being lodged in cells over the course of several days or nights in a row, or even twice the same day. In less than a decade, this man has been the subject of over 1,100 police files and spent the equivalent of more than a year in jail sobering up.
A 59-year-old woman has the second most contacts with police from September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019 with 112, followed by a 33-year-old male with 91 contacts.
“On Wednesday October 23, monthly income assistance payments were issued to those in need. This is often the busiest day of the month for police in most communities. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., eight people were lodged in Prince George detachment cells exclusively for being drunk by alcohol and not being able to care for themselves.
“These calls for service take a considerable amount of police resources in each case and require immediate response by frontline officers, sometimes taking them away from other investigations. Once in cells, the individual must be constantly monitored by staff and RCMP supervisors until they are sober enough to be released.
“With the lack of resources available to help these addicted persons, the Prince George RCMP will continue to work with our community partners to develop a better option to help these persons deal with their intoxication and ultimately, their addictions.”