The province is reviewing West Shore RCMP staffing concerns after receiving a resolution from Langford, Colwood and View Royal in March.
The resolution asked the province to increase funding for West Shore RCMP in order to hire more officers and meet immediate and projected needs within the detachment.
A 2018 West Shore RCMP General Duty Service Assessment (GDSA) identified that the current 81 officer detachment needs to have an additional nine officers immediately and another four by 2023.
Premier John Horgan has also provided a letter of support for additional RCMP officers in the West Shore.
In a June 17 letter addressed to the three municipality’s mayors, Brenda Butterworth-Carr — assistant deputy minister and director of police services for the province — said “it is imperative that resources provided by each partner in an integrated municipal/provincial detachment are commensurate to the workload demand of the respective jurisdiction(s).”
However, Butterworth-Carr also said the GDSA is a tool originally intended for single jurisdiction, urban detachments.
“While the GDSA is a beneficial tool for examining certain aspects of General Duty deployments, there are significant shortcomings and methodological concerns when it comes to applying the tool in more rural settings, interpreting within the integrated detachment structure and assessing resource levels in isolation of understanding the full context of resourcing and service to the West Shore detachment,” the letter reads.
West Shore municipalities are funding an increase in officers and civilian employees with West Shore RCMP but View Royal, Colwood and Langford are also asking that the province pay for at least three more general duty officers.
The West Shore RCMP detachment has 81 officers that police Colwood, Langford, View Royal, Highlands, Metchosin, Esquimalt Nation, Songhees Nation, portions of the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area and the Trans-Canada Highway.
Currently, the province is providing 40 per cent fewer officers per capita, equating to an approximate $720,000 shortfall.
“As long as you fund your police force to the strength that they require, they’ll do a good job,” said Langford Mayor Stew Young in a previous statement. “We just have to make sure that the politicians support the RCMP and make sure they can keep our community safe.”
In the letter — which is set to be received by the City of Colwood at Monday’s council meeting — Butterworth-Carr said ministry staff are working with the RCMP to “ensure a comprehensive review of resourcing is conducted to address your concerns and expedite this review as timely as possible.”
“In addition, I will raise the issue with RCMP Assistant Commissioner Eric Stubbs, core policing for British Columbia Division,” the letter reads.
The City of Colwood was recently rated one of the safest communities in Canada and the second-safest community in B.C. In a previous statement, Colwood Mayor Rob Martin said council intends to keep it that way.
“Whether you measure by population, service time, officers per capita or property assessments, the provincial contribution falls short,” Martin said.