Posted by: Editor | August 15, 2010

Mayor’s Monthly Musing: Summer, 2010

One of the biggest community concerns in Esquimalt is policing. Currently serviced by the Victoria Police Department (VicPD), many Esquimalt residents feel that our community’s level of policing and public safety leaves a lot to be desired. Could that be changing? In her monthly Esquimalt Review report, Mayor Barb Desjardins says the outlook is positive for Esquimalt policing.

Mayor’s Monthly Musing: Summer, 2010

Esquimalt is Moving Forward in Determining How We are Policed

By Mayor Barb Desjardins

Mayor Barb Desjardins

As of July, 2010, Esquimalt has turned another corner. We have received the Solicitor General’s order of appointments for the Esquimalt Police Advisory Board.

This board is made up of three provincial appointees, one council appointee, and myself as chair. It is not new for Esquimalt to have a police board. We had one before the amalgamation of our police with VicPD in 2002.

What is significant is that this is the first step to restoring for Esquimalt what every other municipality in British Columbia has, the right to determine how it will provide policing.

Section 54(1) “The council may provide police services in the municipality by a combination of methods authorized pursuant to the Police Act and the board of police commissioners of a municipality has jurisdiction over the provision of the police services, notwithstanding that they are provided by a combination of methods. (2) A municipality may contract with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Minister of Justice or another municipality to provide police services. 1998, c. 18, s. 54.

This right was removed when amalgamation took place although I do not feel it was necessarily the intention. Amalgamation with a very different community, 4 times larger than Esquimalt, with very different needs of the police, created issues for Esquimalt that were never resolved.

This was the reason that Esquimalt pushed for an audit of its police service delivery, funding model, and governance model within the amalgamated Victoria force . The audit report that was released earlier this spring concluded there may be better ways for Esquimalt to be policed, and that the funding formula with Victoria for police services should be reviewed.

Governance change is the first step in evaluation and potentially changing the other two issues. Over the next period of time the Esquimalt Police Advisory Board will review service needs, options of service provision and costs, and complete a report for the Solicitor General. From this report our policing may change significantly in some or all aspects.

I am looking forward to the hard work and next steps in this process and feel we will be well served by the people chosen to serve Esquimalt in this important role.

Barb Desjardins is the Mayor of Esquimalt and Chair of the newly-formed Esquimalt Police Board. The names of all the members of Esquimalt Police Board were unveiled at the August 16th Council Meeting and include local residents: Warren Carrie, John (Jack) Fleming, Donna Humphries as the provincial appointees and Graham Lang as the Esquimalt Council appointee.

Email Mayor Desjardins at: mayor@esquimalt.ca

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