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Flights from RCMP have been on the increase, something that’s becoming a growing concern for the force.

At the monthly meeting for Alberton Town Council, Corporal Andy Cook said there were two in the last month in the area, one of which happened the night before council met. In that particular incident, the vehicle in question reached speeds of 200 km/h before it was shut down, which garnered shocked exclamations from council members. Cpl Cook said RCMP will be dealing with the driver, but didn’t elaborate on how.

It’s not just motor vehicles RCMP are having this issue with, they’re also dealing with ATVs and snowmobiles as well. Cpl Cook told members of council how a resident in Tignish was almost hit by an ATV driver recently after its driver decided to flee.

“We’re tired of people taking off,” said Cpl Cook. “It’s very dangerous, especially on ATVs. It’s dangerous for the rider, it’s dangerous for us. We’re actively trying to work up some source information for the summer, on ATVs especially, but also people taking off on us.”

He reminded council that RCMP has the authority to seize a vehicle, which can be turned over for inclusion at trial.

Staff Sergeant Troy MacLean of Prince District RCMP said fleeing from police is dangerous not only for the driver, but also for the officers involved, and the community at large.

“When we do initiate a traffic stop, there’s already an inherent offence that we’re investigating, and when people do flee, they’re putting a lot of people at risk, which is a concern to me,” he said. “If vehicles are being operated unsafely, or in an unsafe fashion, we are going to engage and investigate those matters to the full extent we can to identify the driver and initiate any legal charges that might come out of that offence or that action.”

Sometimes, RCMP can’t initially pursue a vehicle because it’s just not safe to do so. In cases like that, they’ll rely on other means to identify the driver.

“You know the old saying, ‘We might not get you today, but I’ll get you tomorrow’,” said St/Sgt MacLean. “If we can identify the driver, a charge will be laid and we can certainly apply the abilities of the justice system to its greatest extent.”

Helping matters is the arrival of a second ATV for the RCMP’s snowmobile and ATV unit has arrived in the province, which will help with off-highway patrols. On Feb. 27, members of Prince District RCMP, along with officers with PEI Conservation Enforcement, conducted a joint snowmobile patrol from Wellington to West Point, and checked approximately 125 riders at numerous checkpoints. The focus of the patrol was on impaired operation, registration and trail pass compliance. Several charges under the Off Road Vehicle Act were laid and numerous warnings were issued.

Ultimately, the goal is public safety.

“The point I want to take home is any time someone doesn’t stop for the police, they’re putting a large part of the population in danger,” said St/Sgt MacLean. “We will do everything we can do to the full extent of the law to locate and identify the driver.”

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