Ottawa police see spike in calls in the first quarter of 2022

Ottawa police believe a nine per cent increase in calls during the first three months of the year may be linked to a rising number of reported thefts from vehicles and gas and dashes.

A report for the Ottawa Police Services Board shows there were over 85,000 requests for service in the January to March period, up nine per cent from the same period in 2021.

The service received 80,000 requests for service through calls, while the other 5,000 were filed online.

“A significant portion of this increase may be attributed to a rising number of reported Thefts, including Thefts from Vehicles and Gas Drive Offs,” police said.

The 85,000 requests for service in the first quarter was below the same quarter in 2020.

There were over 300 Priority 1 calls in the first quarter of 2022, higher than the first quarter of 2021 but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Officers responded to P1 calls within the guidelines of 15 minutes 89 per cent of the time.

The report doesn’t say how many calls were linked to the Freedom Convoy protest in downtown Ottawa in late January and February.

UNDER STAFFING

The Ottawa Police Service says it began 2022 under-staffed by 11 officers after a full year without recruitment in 2021.

The service recently announced plans to hire 80 officers in 2022 to meet staffing requirements and cover retirements and resignations. The 80 officers includes hiring 13 experienced officers in August, and 67 new recruits in April, September and December.

Approximately 37 officers are expected to retire in 2022, while 12 officers are expected to resign.

A report for Monday’s Ottawa Police Services Board says OPS started the year with 41 permanent civilian positions with no “substantive owner”.

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