The British Columbia Prosecution Service has launched a recruitment drive for Crown lawyers and other staff, part of a series of recent measures to address repeat violent offending.
A statement from the service says it’s aiming to hire up to 40 Crown counsel this year, some to fill vacancies created by the dedication of prosecutors to repeat violent offender response teams.
Those teams are part of the province’s safer communities action plan launched by Premier David Eby soon after he was sworn in last November.
At the time, Eby said the plan has two key tracks: enforcement, recognizing “zero tolerance” for violence in communities, and intervention, or preventing crime before it happens through services that address root causes.
Officials have said the response teams will consist of police, prosecutors and probation officers who will focus on repeat offenders, while the province also plans to add 12 mental health response teams, some Indigenous-led.
The job posting for Crown counsel to join the prosecution service shows openings in more than 20 communities from Metro Vancouver to Dawson Creek in northeastern B.C., with the potential for hiring in additional locations.
The service says it’s looking for lawyers with at least six years of trial experience and it’s strongly encouraging applications from candidates across Canada.
The Opposition Liberals have been critical of what they call the government’s “catch-and-release” policy on repeat violent offenders, citing incidents of people being arrested for alleged violent attacks and being released on bail soon after.
Eby has said the provincial action plan is needed in part because federal changes to the bail system have made it more difficult to hold people who commit repeat, violent offences in custody until they’ve stood trial.