Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Policing in BC

I coming more and more to the opinion that policing needs to leave the hands of local government and by taker over by the Provincial government. We have a mishmash of multiple police forces in BC, all of them accountable to different governing bodies. We have no single overarching 'top cop' for BC, or anyway to have coordinated investigations across local government lines.

Much of the policing in BC is provided by the E division of the RCMP. They are contracted by many local governments to province them with policing and the province hires them to police areas of the local governments of fewer than 5000 people and the unorganized areas. Every cop in BC has jurisdiction throughout the province, but they are geographically limited.

The biggest detachments or police forces we have in the province are the Vancouver Police and the Surrey detachment of the RCMP. Both serve less than 600,000 people. There is no one police force for the lower mainland.

Here in Victoria we have four municipal police forces and two detachments of the RCMP. That for a regional population of just over 300,000 people.

It is not as if the local governments have any say over how the policing is done, but they are the ones that operate it. A small municipal force does not have the resources to do everything that is needed from a police force.

The time has come for the government of BC to take over policing and create a single BC police force that is consistent throughout the province and has a single senior officer that is in charge and answers directly to the solicitor general. No more contracting with the RCMP, no more local police forces with a handful of officers, no more artificial restrictions by random local government geography.

Wold this save money? I doubt it, but what it would do is offer more effective policing in the province. If there is a concern that a single force for the province would be too big, the regional district boundaries could form the boundaries of the detachments. Our current model is expensive and unwieldy, no one would invent it now if we were starting with a blank slate.

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