RCMP, Victoria give go-ahead to release Esquimalt policing proposals

Approval still needed from police board, possibly province

The RCMP and City of Victoria have given their blessing to allow Esquimalt to make public their policing proposals.

But the process still faces some hurdles.

The approval of Victoria police board is also required, a step likely to take place at its next meeting in September.

In the RCMP’s July 26 letter, Deputy Comm. Craig Callens urges Esquimalt to consult with the Ministry of Justice before releasing its proposal.

“It is our position that (the document) … may be released at your discretion, in consultation with the contracting partner — Province of B.C., Ministry of Justice, Policing and Security Programs,” the letter reads.

“The caveat is ‘in consultation with the province.’ What does that mean,” said Mayor Barb Desjardins.

At a committee of the whole meeting on Monday, Desjardins directed municipal staff to clarify that its legal obligations are absolved before the reports are released.

“If there are no further concerns around that, then yes, I’d like to have those reports released,” she told The News.

Council also passed a motion to seek assurances from the province that it will not be on the hook for costs related to the new policing framework agreement with Victoria.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said the province will provide the “necessary support and resources” to ensure a more effective and fair amalgamated police force for the Township.

“We will be funding the facilitator position and are devoting staff to help implement the report recommendations,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

David Bratzer, a VicPD officer Capital Region resident, has been pushing for the release of the proposals by filing a complaint through the B.C. privacy commissioner, who is now looking into the matter.

Both the RCMP and Victoria police submitted policing proposals to Esquimalt last year.

After the Township recommended switching to an RCMP contract, the province overruled the decision and instead accepted the recommendations from an independent mediator to maintain the current amalgamated police department.

dpalmer@vicnews.com

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