City hall. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria pushes back after province fails to ‘show leadership’ in establishing regional police force

Councillors will pen another letter to the province asking for a stronger role in uniting police

Victoria’s council voted unanimously to write another letter to the province asking it to take a firmer role in establishing a regional police force.

On July 5, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth penned a letter in response to earlier correspondence from the city, which had asked for help in establishing a combined police force in the Capital Region. Farnworth wrote that the province wasn’t against the idea, but that action was the responsibility of local governments.

READ MORE: Province will not take action in establishing a regional police force for Greater Victoria

“This government continues to be supportive of integration and regionalization where appropriate,” Farnworth wrote. “However, any change to policing and law enforcement in the Capital Region is a decision for the municipalities involved and their elected officials, subject to my overall responsibility to ensure adequate and effective policing and public safety in B.C.”

This prompted Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt to put forward a motion on Thursday to write a response to Farnworth as well as local MLA’s and Premier John Horgan. The letter will “express serious concern over the unfairness of policing costs for the core area of the capital region being borne exclusively by the taxpayers of the Township of Esquimalt and the City of Victoria.”

ALSO READ: Local powers say a regionalized police force needed for Greater Victoria

“This is an issue that won’t be resolved until the province decides to show leadership,” Isitt said. “Victoria and Esquimalt residents are among the lowest income residents on a per capita or median or average basis in the whole region, and yet all the costs for policing the core are falling on those residents and [tax] rate payers.”

Isitt further alluded to an amalgamated police force being a prioritized topic of discussion as conversations between the City of Victoria and The District of Sannich’s citizen’s assembly builds up steam.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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