Re: “More talk of regional police,” Nov. 12.
In the above noted article, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said his city is still considering pulling out of the RCMP and launching its own municipal force. This seems to be because of the higher cost of officers. He mentioned they were told to budget $1,200 for each officer in their detachment due to the shared cost of the newly opened RCMP “E” Division headquarters in Surrey.
A recent report shows that Richmond currently spends less per citizen on policing compared to cities with independent municipal police services.
Richmond RCMP was 34 per cent below its independent municipal force.
RCMP member’s salaries increased by six per cent from 2008 to 2012, whereas salaries increased by 14 per cent for municipal forces.
The same Surrey Leader issue stated Surrey plans to increase taxes by $113 on the average home with an estimated value of $643,600. This included the cost of 12 new police officers.
Let’s compare the cost of the RCMP versus municipal/regional policing.
The Vancouver Police Department has 1,450 members with a smaller geographical area and almost the same population as Surrey, which has only 650 members. This would be because Vancouver police have a union and are under B.C. municipal policing/staffing requirements which require certain staffing levels at different times of the day and night.
The RCMP have no union and are not required to follow these levels, thus there are fewer officers per detachments.
Should Surrey decide to switch to a municipal force, it could mean an increase of 800 members (this does not include the replacement of those members that would remain with the RCMP). There would be a loss of the 10-per-cent federal funding right off the top, along with added costs of training, uniforms, equipment, benefits, support staff as well as external cost such as lab services, air support, etc.
One has to ask, what would be the true total cost? The mayors of Richmond, Coquitlam, Langley, Burnaby and North Vancouver should rethink changing to a municipal/regional police force, and stop playing a shell game with the true costs.