Regional policing talk precedes B.C. election
Recalling that the B.C. NDP was quite innovative in the past with policing, Doug Mackay-Dunn hopes the same will be true again if the party returns to power.
The District of North Vancouver councillor and former Vancouver police officer noted that it was a New Democrat government in the 1970s that created the now-defunct Coordinated Law Enforcement Unit. Formed to fight organized crime, CLEU drew officers from municipal police departments and the RCMP. It reported to a board composed of police chiefs, Mackay-Dunn said.
The four-term councillor would like to see a new NDP government under Adrian Dix provide leadership on policing reforms, starting with the regionalization of police services in metropolitan areas.
Since Metro Vancouver mayors are divided as ever over regional policing, Mackay-Dunn suggests that amalgamation be tried initially on Vancouver Island.
“If I was in the NDP advising Mr. Dix, I would be saying regionalize those small forces on the island first, then come to the mainland and start sitting down with them [mayors],” Mackay-Dunn told the Straight in a phone interview.
Dix has been noncommittal on the idea of a regional police service for Metro Vancouver.
Like the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island has a patchwork of police agencies. There are RCMP detachments and four independent municipal police departments. Mackay-Dunn asserted the municipal police services in Victoria, Saanich, Central Saanich, and Oak Bay could be combined.
Although Delta mayor Lois Jackson opposes police regionalization, she’s holding a forum on this topic on Wednesday (March 13). It will be held from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Delta Town and Country Inn (6005 Highway 17).
“This is a huge question, so we decided to hold a public meeting,” Jackson told the Straight by phone. “We want to have some dialogue here. Let’s find out what’s going on.”
Jackson maintained that Delta has a low crime rate, and its population is well served by its own municipal police force.