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VicPD chief, Esquimalt and Victoria mayors want regional police force
Victoria’s police chief and the mayors of Esquimalt and Victoria are putting their support behind an amalgamated police force for the Capital Region.
Victoria Police Chief Const. Del Manak said Tuesday he welcomes the idea of a region-wide force.
"We would be in favour of it," he told CTV News. "Criminals know no boundaries."
Manak said that a unified force covering Saanich, Central Saanich, Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Victoria would provide better and more equitable policing for the whole region.
Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins said she also supports a regional policing model.
“There is significant policing that occurs in the downtown-core area," she said. "Right now the two communities of Esquimalt and Victoria are paying for that, and the full region is benefitting from it.”
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps also echoed her support for a unified force.
“Having a seamless, comprehensive public safety across the region, or at the very least across the core, is a good rationale for a regional police service,” Helps said.
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes, however, is opposed to the idea. He said Tuesday that Saanich residents already provide revenue to the City of Victoria by working and spending money in the capital. He added that Saanich doesn’t charge Victoria residents for using Saanich’s many parks.
"Our residents already contribute significantly to the tax base of Victoria by supporting the hotels, the shops, the restaurants with their hard-earned dollar after a long week of work,” Haynes said.
Meanwhile, Oak Bay Police Chief Const. Andy Brinton said talk of amalgamation should be left to elected officials.
"I can say that we enjoy incredible community support from the residents of Oak Bay and there is a sense of ownership here.," he said. "We are constantly working on efficiencies and are able to provide a very high level of service at the lowest cost per capita of any independent police department in B.C.”