The RCMP is insisting its good value for money when it comes to providing a police service to the City of Richmond.
Referring to a 31-page report which was made public after the News deadline on Thursday, the Mounties Insp. Ted De Jager, of the E-Division headquarters, pointed out that Richmond currently spends less per citizen on policing compared to cities with independent municipal police services.
It was further pointed out that, from 2001 to 2010, the per capita policing cost of the Richmond RCMP was 34 per cent below its independent municipal police service peer group.
And, for the same period, the cost per Richmond RCMP member was 6 per cent below the independent municipal police service peer group.
De Jager added that RCMP member salaries increased by just 6 per cent from 2008 to 2012, whereas salaries increased by 14 per cent in the independent municipal police service peer group.
In a move instigated by a long-term disdain for the RCMPs lack of accountability, city councils community safety committee asked staff Wednesday to drill down the numbers on setting up an independent police department.
Prior to Wednesdays meeting, city staff wanted to see and analyze the RCMP report, before offer their views to committee. However, the city didnt receive the report until last Friday.
City council had instructed staff to begin gathering information on the possibility of policing alternatives in June. Its not clear exactly when the RCMP was asked to contribute, with the city only saying it made the request, earlier this year.
Nevertheless, the city did move closer this week to setting up its own police force, while sliding away from a joint deal with the VPD.
The independent option one of five presented to councillors by staff included outsourcing specialized services to other policing agencies, such as the RCMPs homicide investigation team.
Although commending the local RCMP detachment for the excellent service it provides, Mayor Malcolm Brodie and other council members reiterated that the costs and service standards are just two of the factors at play accountability, or lack thereof, and control are major bones of contention.
Brodie successfully tabled a motion asking staff to closer examine the finances for the aforementioned option; in particular the pricey transition costs estimated between $20 million and $36 million.
Staff were also asked to come back with an analysis and comment on an RCMP report which, according to the Mounties, justifies why theyre good value for money.
Staff will also consider in greater depth whether there is any actual prospect of a regional police force being supported and spearheaded by the province.
Finally, the committee want staff to invite the mayor of Esquimalt to come talk to council about that citys reportedly negative experience of breaking away from the Mounties and setting up, back in 2002, a joint police force with Victoria a deal which it is now wants out of, but is stuck with.
The option of setting up a joint force with Vancouver is still on the table along with sticking with the RCMP, a totally independent and self-sufficient force or a sub-regional force.
Committee members, however, seemed to favour Richmond having its own police department (with external specialized services), a move estimated on the side of caution by staff as costing $1.6 million to $3.2 million more a year to run that paying for the RCMP.
But it was the transition costs anywhere between $20 million and $36 million that furrowed the brows of some on council.
Recent issues such as paying more than other cities for integrated policing costs, a 5.25-per-cent wage hike and who's to pay for the new billion dollar RCMP E division headquarters in Surrey have further irked Richmond city council in the lack of control it has over policing.
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