Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Ottawa police open new storefront office in Rideau Centre on Wednesday

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The new Ottawa Police Service hub in the Rideau Centre is officially open, a key part of the plan to improve safety and security in the busy tourist and business area.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and Chief Eric Stubbs attended a ceremony Wednesday morning to open the Neighbourhood Operations Centre on the first floor of the mall on Rideau Street.

“Tangibly this is a building that we’re going to meet in with the community where our members can come and meet as well and strategize on what they need to do today, what they need to do tomorrow, because this is not an issue that’s going to get resolved quickly,” Stubbs said.

“It’s over time. We have to have a sustained strategy and a sustained presence to make a meaningful difference.”

Police have said, “The NOC will act as a vital coordination hub to enhance police presence and provide a collaborative space to work with our local partners.”

Coun. Stephanie Plante, Mayor Mark Sutcliffe, Ottawa-Vanier MP Mona Fortier, Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs and other officials open the new Neighbourhood Operations Centre at the Rideau Centre. (Katie Griffin/CTV News Ottawa)

The new operations centre is opening just before Canada Day, when police will be increasing their presence in the area.

“One of the things we’re doing here at the NOC is we’re building a frontline coordination team, which we’re really excited about,” Acting Sgt. Paul Stam said. “That’s going to be a weekly meeting with frontline workers and supervisors from bylaw, paramedics, the police, OC Transpo special constables, public works and other frontline agencies.”

Ottawa police have said the Rideau Centre hub will not be open to the public when it first opens. The Neighbourhood Resources Team and Community Police will use the centre to coordinate operations, hold briefings and host community meetings.

The new police hub was originally scheduled to open on June 3, but the opening was delayed because of “supply chain issues with some key parts to get that office up and running,” according to Stubbs.

Stubbs has said “staffing limitations” mean it won’t be open for the public until at least 2025.

The new operations centre in the downtown mall is part of the ‘Community Outreach Response and Enforcement Strategy,’ focusing on enhancing public safety in the ByWard Market and Rideau Street area.

The strategy will also include officers targeting “hot spots of high crime concentration” and focusing enforcement on “identifying high-harm offenders.”

Ottawa police will receive $48 million from the Ontario government over three years to address community and public safety. The funding will cover an increase in uniformed police officers in the ByWard Market and on the transit system, along with alternative mental health supports. Staff say the Community Outreach Response and Engagement Strategy is a central element of the plan.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Katie Griffin

The new Ottawa Police Service Neighbourhood Operations Centre opened on Wednesday morning. (Josh Pringle/CTV News Ottawa)

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