Victoria city council continues push for regional policing
City Hall (CTV News Vancouver Island)
Victoria city council says it is committed to its request for regional policing throughout Greater Victoria.
Despite recieving a negative answer from BC Solicitor General Mike Farnworth on the request for a regional police force, council unanimously agreed to send another letter to Farnworth, Premier John Horgan and other Vancouver Island MLAs on Thursday.
"If somebody walked into the region today and there was no policing, no one would think it was a good idea to set up five different police forces and the RCMP," said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
"That's the historical legacy, but we don't need to be stuck with it forever."
If Victoria is going to see movement on creating a regional police force it will have to come from the province, said Helps.
In March of this year, council unanimously supported sending a request to B.C.'s Minister for Public Safety for a regional police force to help with policing the downtown core.
The minister responded to the request with a resounding no.
"Any change to policing and law enforcement in the Capital Region is a decision for the municipalities involved and their elected officials, subject to my overall responsibility to ensure adequate and effective policing and public safety in BC," wrote Farnsowrth in a letter responding to council's policing request on July 5.
When Farnworth's letter was discussed at Thursday's council meeting, council decided to write another letter to Farnworth, the Premier and every MLA on the South Island expressing Victoria council's desire for provincial leadership on the matter.
"The concept of regional policing is so critical to so many other conversations about service delivery and quality of life in the region," said Victoria Coun. Marianne Alto.
"It is an absolute priority and one we will not stop working on."
Alto added that the council will continue to encourage their colleagues at every government level to recognize the idea of an amalgamated police force as a fundamental aspect of citizenry and residency in Greater Victoria.
Council's letter to the Solicitor General and Premier Horgan is expected to be drafted and sent as soon as possible.