Abbotsford Police will no longer attend most minor collisions

New policy went into effect on Feb. 1, with the goal of reducing the redundancy of emergency services on accident scenes

Abbotsford Police will no longer attend most collisions that are minor and involve no injuries.

Abbotsford Police will no longer attend most collisions that are minor and involve no injuries.

Last year, the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) attended 647 collisions that did not involve injuries.

A new policy that went into effect on Feb. 1 hopes to reduce police presence at these incidents and free up officers for other issues.

Const. Paul Walker said the decision means that police will no longer attend most minor and non-injury vehicle accidents.

He said in most of these cases, the parties involved can exchange information on their own and contact ICBC to start the claim process.

Walker said until now, police often attended these scenes and filled out the necessary paperwork, which was forwarded to ICBC.

He said this meant police were filling purely an administrative function that was unnecessary. The new policy will result in a “more efficient and effective use of police resources,” Walker said.

“We haven’t been able to boost the numbers (of police officers) over the years, so we’re trying to free up the time to target the things that are more pressing,” he said.

Walker said these issues currently include property crime and the Townline Hill gang issues.

He said police will continue to respond to minor crashes that create a hazard to other drivers or when there are policing issues involved – for example, a motorist is impaired or one driver is becoming aggressive towards the other.

In the past when a minor collision was reported, APD was dispatched to the scene, along with Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service (AFRS) and BC Ambulance.

The latter two services will continue to attend these scenes and will alert APD if their presence is required. Otherwise, AFRS will now direct traffic in the area – something it has always done until police arrived – and ensure the scene is cleared.

Assistant Fire Chief Craig Bird said the policy change is a positive step in reducing redundancies among emergency services in the area, as there are many circumstances when police do not need to be on the scene.

Bird said the change also frees AFRS to call a tow truck to the scene if required – a task that was previously handled mainly by police – and potentially clear the area sooner.

“From a taxpayer’s point of view, it doesn’t get any better,” he said.

 

 

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