Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit February 27, 2014 - 7:55 am

Liquor store could reduce bootlegging in Iqaluit, RCMP says

Lead officer anticipates long-term bootlegging decline, but temporary spike in police calls

PETER VARGA
A big inventory of beer and Smirnoff vodka seized in Iqaluit by police in March 2010, when four Iqaluit men were charged with keeping liquor for sale illegally. The men had acquired the booze legally, but intended to sell it illegally. (FILE PHOTO)
A big inventory of beer and Smirnoff vodka seized in Iqaluit by police in March 2010, when four Iqaluit men were charged with keeping liquor for sale illegally. The men had acquired the booze legally, but intended to sell it illegally. (FILE PHOTO)

The RCMP’s lead officer at the Iqaluit detachment said Feb. 25 he believes retail beer and wine sales in Iqaluit would curtail bootlegging, but at the same time lead to an temporary spike in calls to police.

“I’m almost anticipating a spike, for the first little while. But I can see that leveling out after a while, after the novelty gets over.” Staff-Sgt. Monty Lecomte told Iqaluit city council.

Lecomte made these remarks in the RCMP detachment’s most recent report to council.

Coun. Terry Dobbin pointed to the possibility of a beer and wine store opening in Iqaluit in the near future, following changes to Nunavut’s Liquor Act late last year.

Amendments to the act allow the Government of Nunavut to open retail beer and wine stores in communities, as pilot projects, with community consent.

In his look back to 2013, the sergeant said that alcohol and drugs “continue to be the major contributing factor to all crime in Iqaluit.”

Lecomte added there were many large seizures of drugs and alcohol in 2013, but did not give figures, except to say that police laid 46 drug-related charges and did 122 drug-related investigations that year.

The year 2013 also marked the launch, on Dec. 1, of a unit created partly to combat bootlegging, known as the “Iqaluit Detachment Crime Reduction Unit,” Lecomte said.

Staffed by two officers, the unit’s mandate is to reduce crime by targeting drug traffickers, bootleggers and prolific offenders,” he said.

Lecomte said overall calls for service in Iqaluit increased “slightly” from 2012 to 2013.

These amounted to 8,879 in 2013, up from 8,494 in 2012.

The increase reflects Iqaluit’s growing population and increased requests for criminal record checks.

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