The City of Victoria won’t be seeing any funds for policing from the Province, after a letter declared that police issues were a municipal responsibility.
In December, the City wrote to the province asking for assistance in policing the core area of the Capital Regional District (CRD).
Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth, penned a response in February, reminding the city that as a larger municipality, it holds its own responsibilities for funding.
“The provincial government provides policing and law enforcement to CRD municipalities and incorporated areas under 5,000 population,” Farnworth said.
“As a co-chair of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board you will well know that , under sections 3.2 and 15.1 of the [B.C. Police] Act, municipalities with population exceeding 5,000 are wholly responsible for their police and law enforcement services.”
The request comes after the city struggled once again to devise a proper policing budget for its joint police force between Victoria and Esquimalt.
This year VicPD requested a $2.5 million increase for 2020 from Victoria, bringing its total up to $58,241,090.00.
Chief Const. Del Manak says this sum is not enough to keep up with increasing crime and policing expenditures.
Farnworth further suggested that the city consider amalgamating with other municipalities for more efficient police coverage.
“I welcome the opportunity to consider any proposals presented jointly by the municipalities involved,” Farnworth said.
“As it pertains to consolidation of command and coordination of police services in the CRD, ministry resources were committed to support collaboration and consultation between the municipalities and police agencies and devise a governance structure for integrated policing teams that serve the region.”
Victoria and Esquimalt amalgamated their police forces in 2003.
Presently, the City of Victoria and the District of Saanich are taking the first steps towards consolidating municipalities by creating a citizen’s assembly task force to study amalgamation.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said she wasn’t surprised by Farnworth’s response.
“He has been very clear in his message to us. If we want regional policing it has to come from local governments, not the province,” Helps said. “I don’t think there’s anything further to do. The Citizens’ Assembly between Saanich and Victoria may come up with some recommendations in regards to emergency services, or it may not. We’ll see.”