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Richmond calls for more police integration, focus on organized crime

The City of Richmond has compiled feedback for the province, which is reviewing the Police Act.
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The City of Richmond would like to see stronger integration of specialized police teams, more focus on money laundering and organized crime and help with mental health calls.

This is part of the feedback compiled by city staff to be submitted to a provincial committee looking at reforming the Police Act.

There were calls across North America last summer to reform police departments, with some going as far as calling to “defund the police,” in light of the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.

In response, the provincial government launched a review of the provincial legislation that oversees policing in the province, the Police Act, which was written in 1974.

The Richmond feedback, however, doesn’t call for a devolution of police powers, instead it calls for stronger programs and calls into question local police boards.

Richmond is also calling for more coordination in tackling gang violence and organized crime, namely, by mandating participation in the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team and the Emergency Response Team – currently, the Vancouver Police Department doesn’t belong to either and participation is voluntary.

The city report also recommends that the Organized Crime Agency take the lead on tackling organized crime.

In addition to calling a more robust auxiliary police program and for help dealing with mental health calls, which can take away from policing time, the city report calls for more accountability on police boards.

The report claims there is increasing tension between police boards in cities not policed by the RCMP and city councils and, furthermore, states that “concerns have been raised over the integrity of individual police board members. This is of particular concern given that police boards have access to confidential and privileged information.”

The feedback on the Police Act must be submitted to the province by April 30 and the final report is expected in mid-May.

The city staff report, written by Richmond’s community safety general manager, Cecelia Achiam, will go to council's committee meeting next Monday for approval.