Richmond approves RCMP contract despite concerns

Caught between an unstoppable need for policing, and an immovable deadline for signing, Richmond city council opted to execute the proposed RCMP contract, but not before stating its objections and turning its trust to the province.

“Richmond city council is caught in a very difficult position,” Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said in a press release. “There is the looming deadline and notice of significant financial penalties if the agreement remains unsigned. However, there remain many important unanswered questions about related costs  if the contract is signed. Unfortunately, there is little chance for effective civic input over the 20-year contractual term. This is a contract of significant importance as Richmond’s RCMP policing budget represents the city’s largest single operational cost.”

According to Brodie, he met with Shirley Bond, B.C.’s justice minister and attorney general, earlier this month, and indicated that he would be signing on the understanding that several specific items will be addressed by the province.

These concerns include:

• limiting the city’s financial liability in regards to the RCMP’s new Green Timbers headquarters, as well as retroactive pay increases and severance entitlements;

• defining the costs of the Lower Mainland integrated teams;

• committing to a process for resolving future disputes in a manner that assures meaningful municipal input.

Brodie clarified that the city isn’t worried about the RCMP’s effectiveness, but rather its “overall administration.”

Plans calling for a study to consider other models for policing, including both regional and sub-regional policing and a separate municipal force, have already been announced by other Metro Vancouver municipalities, and Richmond plans to join in, Brodie said.

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