Richmond city council could decide today (Wednesday) to steer away from the RCMP and introduce a joint Vancouver/Richmond police force.
City staff are asking councillors to consider a raft of options for an alternative police model, one of which might see a single force patrolling the two cities.
Such an option would afford Richmond control over finances — a major bone of contention with the current Mounties model — and potentially cost around $2 million a year less to run than the current $39.9 million.
Other options on the table include Richmond running its own police department (costs approximately $4 million more) and a sub-regional force (costs approximately $2 million less).
The report to city council’s community safety committee was sparked due to the city’s disappointment at having little or no say in the running of the detachment it spends millions on each year.
The option, however, to stay with the RCMP in its current guise is also on the table, should city council shy away from any sweeping changes.
Contained in the report is an extensive costing analysis of the VPD delivering services in Richmond, a document that was requested by Richmond city council.
If the city does decide to break away from the Mounties, several million dollars in start-up costs would be incurred and at least two years of preparation would be needed.
The city, should it decide to break away, would need the full co-operation of the provincial government and would need to give the RCMP two years’ notice of termination.
Recent RCMP issues — such as increasing integrated policing costs, a 5.25 per cent wage hike and who’s paying for the new $1.2 billion RCMP E division HQ in Surrey — have further irked city council in the lack of control it has over policing.