What might you expect when the RCMP in BC respond to your call for service due to COVID-19?


2020-03-30 16:00 PDT

RCMP across the province are continuing to provide core policing services and work hard to ensure community safety due to the impacts of COVID-19. Our detachments are continually assessing their service delivery and program options, and where necessary, reducing front counter services and enhancing their precautions, which of course extends to the frontline.

911 Police Dispatchers and RCMP call-takers  

Male 9-1-1 Dispatcher answering a call

To help ensure police and public safety, callers can expect to answer additional questions whenever they contact 911 or their local police non-emergency lines. These questions are focused on whether anyone in the caller’s residence, or at the scene of an incident have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is exhibiting any symptoms of the COVID-19 virus

We ask that the public listen closely and provide accurate and honest answers to these questions. It’s important to note that a risk of potential exposure to COVID-19 will not stop our police officers from attending priority calls in your community. These questions allow our frontline officer to appropriately prepare for their attendance to the scene, allowing them to take the necessary steps to keep themselves and others safe

Police officers may wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Personal protective gear including mask and safety glasses


Depending on the totality of the emergency situation that our frontline officers are responding to, in the countless communities we serve in B.C., they may wear Personal Protective Equipment or PPE which could include a face mask, disposable gloves and/or protective eye wear. Police officers with our specialized plain clothes units, such as General Investigation Sections (GIS), Major Crime Units (MCU) and even our Traffic Services enforcement officers or forensic specialists may don protective gear during their duties.

Personal protective gear including mask

We recognize that this change in our appearance may be somewhat alarming to the public, but please understand that this measure is only taken in order to ensure everyone’s health and safety. It is important to note that should any of our frontline officers be observed donning this protective equipment, it is in an effort to limit any potential exposure to the novel coronavirus. It is not necessarily an indication that the call for police service we are responding to is related to COVID-19, or that anyone involved has been diagnosed with the virus.

Each call our first responders attend to will be assessed individually, therefore our police officers may not be in Personal Protective Equipment. Furthermore, additional precautionary measures may be taken when officers make an arrest. On a case-by-case basis, the arresting officer may use their discretion to place Personal Protective Equipment on individuals taken into police custody.

Rigorous cleaning protocols of RCMP equipment, police vehicles and facilities

In an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have been developing and refining procedures for cleaning and decontaminating our equipment, police fleet vehicles and policing facilities. These enhanced and more frequent cleaning and sanitizing protocols have been taken to reduce the risk to not only our police officers, our employees, but the general public and of course our clients. Disinfecting high touch areas, and decontaminating fleet vehicles or facilities that are believed to be exposed to the novel coronavirus are a priority.

Measures to keep our communities safe

While the provincial and federal governments have put significant measures in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCMP in BC is taking additional measures to combat crime, while our communities are being impacted. We want to re-assure the public and local business owners that measures are being implemented to target offenders and deter them from taking advantage of this difficult situation.

RCMP officers checking a locked door of a closed business

The RCMP will be more visible in our communities to deter individuals who may be looking to commit a crime as companies temporarily close up during the pandemic. We are monitoring and making sure our presence is known in areas that contain businesses that are closed down for the duration, to help offset any potential criminal activity. If anyone sees anything suspicious, they are being asked to call their local police or if necessary 9-1-1.

RCMP officers doing a bike patrol outside at an empty strip mall

View more information on any changes in service delivery specific to your local RCMP Detachment.

Released by:

Dawn Roberts
BC RCMP Communications


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