Repeat offenders in the South Okanagan will soon be managed from a provincial hub in Kelowna.
The city is one of 12 B.C. communities set to receive a dedicated enforcement hub focused on tackling repeat and violent offenders, following an announcement from Premier David Eby this week in Nanaimo.
Hubs in the Lower Mainland, Interior, Vancouver Island and northern B.C. make up the province’s Repeat Violent Offending Intervention Initiative, with Kelowna, Kamloops and Williams Lake and Cranbrook included as the four communities in the Interior.
“Each hub will serve surrounding communities within its region, co-ordinating responses across the justice system and connecting offenders with the services they need to support better outcomes,” reads a press release from the province.
Penticton MLA Dan Ashton took to the floor of the B.C. Legislature in March to present a petition signed by hundreds of local residents. It called for more resources to RCMP and Crown prosecutors to ensure known repeat offenders stay behind bars and “be dealt with in a matter that respects public safety.”
In a quarterly statistics report presented by RCMP Supt. Brian Hunter in 2022, it was revealed that Penticton’s five most prolific offenders each have an average of 93 contacts with the police.
Kelowna mayor Tom Dyas said he hopes the hub will be in place by the summer.
Victoria, Naniamo, Vancouver, Surrey, New Westminster, Abbotsford, and Terrace will also host regional hubs dedicated to the issue.