West Shore communities call on province to pay for more police
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019 10:33AM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 10, 2019 6:37PM PDT
West Shore mayors are calling on the provincial government to pay for more RCMP officers, which they say are badly needed.
The demand comes after the B.C government recently told the City of Victoria to up its budget to pay for more police after Victoria council rejected the amount of funding sought by the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board last year.
West Shore mayors including Colwood Mayor Rob Martin say the West Shore RCMP detachment, which is funded by Langford, Colwood, View Royal and the province, needs nine more officers immediately.
While the communities have already committed to paying for the nine officers, they're asking the province to pay for three additional Mounties.
"The significant thing that stood out to us was the province contributes eight per cent of the West Shore RCMP budget but they utilize 18 per cent of the budget," said Martin.
He said the reason the communities of Colwood, Langford and View Royal sent the joint letter is to show that the West Shore communities have provided their fair share and the province needs to step up.
"If the province recognizes that they need to contribute three more officers, that would be an addition. Right now, we're not looking at taking away officers we've already committed to," said Martin.
The communities also demanded that the detachment be provided four more officers by 2023.
The communities claim the extra officers needed on the West Shore represent an approximate $720,000 shortfall in funding, forcing some communities to pay more than their fair share.
They are also calling on the province to immediately increase its funding for the RCMP.
"By all measures, the province is falling short," said Christopher Paine, Colwood's finance director. "Langford, View Royal and Colwood are all contributing higher proportions than the province."
B.C. Premier John Horgan has sent a letter to Solicitor General and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth lending his support to the request.
"The rapid growth of population on the Westshore is also well documented and thus the need for more officers is also increasing rapidly," Horgan wrote. "As an MLA representing the Westshore for a number of years I can attest to the ongoing need for more officers."
The West Shore RCMP detachment currently employs 81 Mounties that patrol the service area, which includes Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Metchosin, Highlands and the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.
Approximately 78,000 people live in the West Shore area, and RCMP say that number is estimated to double by 2026.