Regional police - a tired argument
The tired argument about a regional police force in the lower mainland is just that - a tired argument. A regional police force would resolve nothing. Egos are the issue. Information hoarders are the issue. Me first attitudes are the issue. There are police departments in the lower mainland that can't even communicate effectively within their own ranks let alone neighbouring departments. A regional force might have one chief, but it would still be separated into different divisions and areas, led by different senior managers, all of whom will still have the same issues mentioned above.
The argument is made that a regional force could have specialized units which would investigate their specialty, leaving the local police free to deal with community issues and priorities. Those regional units already exist, but not every police department in the lower mainland participates. When asked why VPD wasn't a part of the regional homicide squad (IHIT) Chief Chu said it was "economies of scale" and Vancouver wouldn't benefit from being part of IHIT. How is it that a city with one of the highest homicide rates wouldn't benefit? You supply some officers to the team and when there's a homicide in your city you get the whole team out to take the file! That means more resources for you locally. Chief Chu said the regional homicide team only works for smaller communities. If that's true why did Kash Heed, a major supporter of regional policing, pull the small community of West Vancouver out of the regional homicide team when he was their chief? Sounds like a case of the kid in the schoolyard that says you can play the game, but only if we use my ball and I get to make all the rules otherwise I'm not playing. Once again the me first attitude prevails over doing what is best for their community. If anything participation in the regional units like homicide and riot squad should be mandatory.
There's an academic at Simon Fraser University spouting off that the RCMP will soon be unionized and costs will go up because they'll have to start paying overtime. Here's a news flash. The RCMP already pays overtime. His premise seems to be that when unionized the RCMP will be just like the municipal departments and costs will soar. Out of the other side of his mouth he then says that a unionized B.C. Police Force would be cheaper. You can't have it both ways. He might be an academic but does he think people are stupid and won't see that he's contradicting himself?
Lower mainland police are already on the same police radio system. For example we can drive through Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Delta and Surrey and have radio contact with dispatchers from each city throughout. A simple turn of the dial is all that is required. A regional force would be no different. You can't have the entire region on one channel. Our cities are so big and busy many have a dedicated channel for each district.
We also all use the same computer system for our files. We can run a person in one city and read the reports of every other file he is associated to no matter where that report was written or whether it was a municipal or RCMP officer that wrote the file up.
So realistically what will a regional police force do for us? It will create a huge start-up cost for uniforms and equipment, not to mention trying to hire a tremendous number of police officers. Not every RCMP officer in B.C. would switch over. Plus we'd need more numbers than the RCMP has now because of union staffing requirements. That means even more money. Who is going to pay for all of this? We the taxpayers, that's who.
The system isn't fractured as some would have you believe. The system is actually quite good, it's just that not everyone wants to play by the same rules and work together for a common goal. Municipal and RCMP officers work productively side by side on the street every day without issue. The issues aren't at ground level. The issues compound as you ride the elevator up. There is a group of people that don't want to support the current model of regionalized units because they don't want it to succeed. Time for some senior managers and politicians to check their egos, drop the political games and start doing what's best for the metro Vancouver region.
"The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence." Sir Robert Peel
"Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs." Sir Robert Peel
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