My concern is that when the province takes the lead on policing, communities lose out.
This is what happened in Esquimalt when elected officials of that community chose the RCMP as its policing service, only to have the province step in, forcing the community to accept the more costly Victoria Police. Costly, not just in dollars, but also in approach.
Something new, vital, and substantive is going on in policing in many countries and the majority of municipalities in B.C.
“Community policing” is the only strategy that begins to meet the major fear that is in the minds of police managers, namely, collective violence by disadvantaged groups in urban communities often stratified by race, ethnicity and social status.
That is a dominant worry in the United States, in Canada, in Australia, and in Britain. Community policing is the only strategy which allows police to reach into those communities and to do something ameliorative and helpful, to build bridges before the only response these people have to conditions of modern life is violence.
The other strategy, “zero tolerance,” that is practised by Victoria, Vancouver and Abbotsford, does not accomplish that.
Former Premier Bill Vander Zalm had the right idea: Have the RCMP provide policing for all communities, and use the Independent police departments as highway patrol, where their heavy handed approaches are better suited to keep our highways safe.
If we leave policing up to the province, we do not really have a choice.
(RCMP officer, 35 years)