Friday, January 28, 2011

BC Needs Our Own Police Force

There has been a lot of talk of the need for BC to set up our own police force because of the problem with the contract between the Province and the RCMP.  I think there is a much more important reason for having a BC Police Force and that is so that we reform how we police our province.

At the moment we have 14 police forces in BC (corrected from 15 I had earlier.  Thanks to the person that spotted the mistake)

  1. Abbotsford Police Department
  2. Central Saanich Police
  3. Delta Police Department
  4. Nelson Police Department
  5. New Westminster Police Service
  6. Oak Bay Police Department
  7. Port Moody Police Department
  8. RCMP E Division - 96 detachements
  9. Saanich Police Department
  10. South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service (formerly GVTA Police Service)
  11. Stl' Atl' Imx Tribal Police
  12. Vancouver Police Department
  13. Victoria Police Department
  14. West Vancouver Police Department

There is something not right when we have so many different polices forces and so many detachments of the RCMP.   Much of this problem comes from the fact that historically policing has been a municipal issue.   Local governments in BC with more than 5,000 people are responsible for paying for policing, those that are under or unincorporated do not need pay for policing.   We have no consistency in policing in BC because of the separate police forces and the role of local government in policing.

What I suggest is that the provincial government take over all policing in the province and no longer make it a responsibility of local government at all.   The benefit is that there will be a single coordinated police force in the province with the resources needed to deal with many of the issues that the police are dealing with in BC.   No matter how well police forces in BC can cooperate, as long as we use the current model there will always be fiefdoms within policing.

Local government has been complaining about downloading of more costs to them, this is a way to remove some of that burden.  It is time to do local government a favour.  Yes, this would add costs to the provincial government, but I suspect that a single provincial force could manage to find some efficiencies.   I honestly do not believe the RCMP is run as cost effectively as it could be.   The province has office space in many towns that could be cooperatively used by the civil service and the police.

A police force that ultimately answered to the provincial government and no one else would be a better model than what we have at the moment.   The lines of authority would clear and the ability to work as a single entity with a loyalty to BC and not a town or an office in Ottawa would improve policing in the province.
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