Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas will lead a panel to study and recommend ways to drive the province’s crime rate down, Premier Christy Clark announced on Friday.
Plecas, a criminologist, currently serves as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice. The panel will include other criminologists, former RCMP leaders and a former federal deputy solicitor general.
Meetings will begin in October and members will examine current crime-reduction initiatives and research from other Canadian provinces and other countries. Early next year, the panel will hold regional roundtable consultation sessions, where stakeholders will have opportunities to discuss current crime reduction approaches – addressing successes, challenges and gaps, and opportunities.
Clark said B.C.’s crime rate is at its lowest level in four decades, and said the panel will collaborate with stakeholders in the justice system to work towards solutions to further reduce crime.
Plecas said that with his 34 years as a criminologist and researcher, he has become very familiar with the evolution of B.C.’s criminal justice system, and the people who helped make it happen.
“The calibre and depth of expertise of our panel membership is superb, and I look forward to hearing from many stakeholders who’ve been part of B.C.’s success in addressing crime in the past, as well as newer voices that may bring fresh, workable ideas forward,” said Plecas.
The panel will work with police, local government, corrections, criminal justice, academia, health and social services, and other relevant fields to focus on finding potential solutions to a variety of issues.
Plecas will deliver a summary of the panel’s findings to minister of justice Suzanne Anton by June 30, 2014.
The report is to summarize current crime reduction initiatives, identify potential challenges and concerns, provide the broader results of the stakeholder consultation and recommend opportunities and next steps.