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2 collision reporting centres open Thursday; aim to free up Edmonton police

Two new collision reporting centres officially opened on Thursday, with the goal of streamlining the process for minor collisions while also freeing up Edmonton police resources.

The centres are for individuals who’ve been involved in minor collisions. Instead of reporting the crash at an Edmonton Police Service front counter or waiting for police at the collision site, drivers will go to a collision reporting centre and staff will help them complete the police report. The process will include taking pictures of vehicle damage and contacting family members and insurance providers.

EPS counters will no longer process collision reports.

One centre is located at 15750 – 116 Ave. in north Edmonton and the other is on the south side at 5805 – 87A St. They will be open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. They will be closed on statutory holidays.

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EPS is working with Accident Support Services International Ltd. (ASSI) on the centres. ASSI is a management company that bridges police and insurance providers by providing post-collision assistance to drivers. It currently operates 41 collision reporting centres across Canada.

“This allows the public to come in at their convenience, within 24 hours,” ASSI president Steve Sanderson said.

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“The centre also provides early contact between drivers and insurance companies, which speeds up the claims process and delivers additional customer service. So while you’re in the centre, if you wish to report to your insurer, we electronically send that to your insurance company and they’ll send you back a text saying, ‘Here’s your claim number. We’re on it’ and it makes your life easier.”

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However, drivers must still call 911 for major collisions with injuries requiring EMS, a fatality or criminal activity (impaired driving, stolen vehicle, assault).

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Edmonton’s police chief believes the streamlined approach will free up officers to respond to higher priority calls, while clearing roadways faster.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to improve service delivery and introduce innovative business practices that help us use our resources more efficiently,” police chief Dale McFee said in August.

“It can take several hours from the time a collision occurs to the conclusion of an investigation, which ties up officers and leaves motorists waiting. The centres won’t just improve how we’re using our resources, they’ll also create a safer environment for Edmonton’s motorists by moving the reporting process off the roadway and into a dedicated space.”

McFee said each year, officers respond to and process approximately 34,000 motor vehicle collisions.

“This often boils down to a considerable amount of administrative work,” he said. “They can be some of the most time-consuming tasks our people perform and they happen daily.”

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McFee also believes the new reporting centres will reduce the strain on EPS staff at division front counters. Processing one minor collision at a police counter takes an average of one hour per incident, the police chief said.

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The EPS forecasts this change will remove about 60 per cent of the workload at division front counters.

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McFee said the collision reporting centres will immediately free up about three officers, with another 10-12 officers potentially being freed up in the near future.

“This is time that officers can be using differently and it’s time and stress Edmonton’s motorists can also be saved. We’ve heard from citizens that they want EPS to focus on crime and emergency aspects of police work,” the chief said.

McFee said the centres come at no cost to the public or the EPS, as they’re paid for by the insurance providers who support ASSI.

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