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.


D.M. McGowan said...

We had our own police force in BC from 1859 until 1950. The BC Provincial Police lead North America with the implementation of technology that is now an integral part of policing through out the world. The RCMP absorbed the BCPP because, at the time, the Mounties were considered to be the superior force. It was also believed that policing would be cheaper for the province by contracting it out.
Over the years, however, the RCMP have reduced their standards and requirments. Their technology is world leading but their training of recruits and the resultant officers is abysmal.
As a result positive results are expensive.

Bernard said...

I wish BC had not abandoned the BCPP for the RCMP. The nature of the relationship between the government of BC and the police force will never be right until the police force is under the jurisdiction of the province and only the province.

David Bratzer said...

Interesting idea. The model you are suggesting goes much further than simply re-establishing a provincial police force. You are suggesting the elimination of all municipal police agencies. Can you give us an example of somewhere that uses this model?

Bernard said...

This is the model that is used in Germany, each state has their own police force.

I will look for other examples

Anonymous said...

I believe the list is 14 police forces, not 15. (The GVTA seems to show up on two lines.)

Bernard said...

You are right, I am fixing it now. Thanks for spotting it

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with this article. The subnational model of policing is the model that Australia has followed - there are seven state police forces and one federal force. Municipal policing in the states is the responsibility of the state police services, with the federal police service handling specialized issues throughout the federation, and local policing in the territories.

As a quick comparison, Queensland, with an approxmiate population of 4.5 million people, has a single police force. On the other hand, British Columbia, with an approximate population of 4.5 million, has 14 police forces - something to think about!

Bernard said...

Not only 14 police forces, there are a total 96 detachments of the RCMP most of which answer to a local government first and foremost so they operate more like independent police forces than one would think

Anonymous said...

When our "law" officers are no longer bound by any laws, answer to no one and always have their "family" members to serve and protect each other (and it seems to be family and close friends are extented the same privliges"). These officers and the crown way to close. We need a system where no one from the RCMP ever becomes a member of the new force. The check point on the new officers is no paid holidays for commiting offences and no cozy proceutors and wilfully blind judges to help get them off or help them in false procecution of innocent. Rekember the RCMP motto They always get their man! May not be the real criminal but they "got"him anyway. . . get it?