Comment: The wrong way to lobby for a regional police force

A commentary by a former City of Hamilton director of engineering; former city manager for Waterloo, Ont., Scarborough, Ont. and Victoria; and a former Fort McMurray, Alta. commissioner.

Re: “City fires volley at province for rejecting single police force,” Sept. 6.

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This headline is an expression of how Victoria city council should not deal with the B.C. government. There is no question that the province’s position with respect to a single police force for the region is not rejection. The province has simply said the issue of a regional police force should be dealt with by all the municipalities of Greater Victoria.

The important issue of a single regional police force needs to be addressed by the entire region.

Much needs to be resolved and the City of Victoria should lead in moving to action other municipal governments in the region, getting them to support a single police service that is up to date, more economic and ready to deal with complex policing issues in a comprehensive manner, with less bureaucracy and lower total costs.

There is no question that politicians in our region have been extremely slow in addressing this important issue. A multitude of regional police forces have been established in other regions of Canada. Efforts to establish them were initiated years ago by local political action. As an example, I dealt with the regional police force as city manager of Waterloo, Ont., as early as 1985, some 34 years ago, on a number of occasions.

The time has come for us to move ahead with a proposal to create a single police force, but with care and diplomacy.

Municipalities in our region and the provincial government must act as soon as possible.

Energy needs to be focused on the creation of a single police force for the whole region with support from all quarters.

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