The City of Richmond is hosting the first of a series of open houses tonight to gather public opinion on whether or not to give the RCMP the boot.
Richmond mayor Malcolm Brodie said the City was “forced” to sign a renewal contract with the RCMP and felt certain aspects of it were unfair and incomplete.
“We’ve been looking at the police model since that time,” Brodie told Vancity Buzz.
One of the main issues, according to Brodie, is that the RCMP is governed by a police board in Ottawa, and he questions whether Richmond would be better off being governed locally with a municipal police board.
“The issues with the RCMP relate to issues of accounting and transparency and local control and finances – those kinds of issues, as opposed to policing on the street,” he said.
There are many factors to consider when switching from the RCMP to a municipal police force, including cost. Brodie said there will be impacts to the operating budget, and a large impact in terms of straight transitional costs, including a one-time cost of nearly $20 million.
“You can’t look at this issue without considering the question of cost.”
Brodie said they get on-going feedback about the Richmond RCMP from the public, especially in the past month since public consultation started. The five open houses are as follows:
- Wednesday, February 17; 5 to 8 p.m. at South Arm Community Centre
- Thursday, February 18; 5 to 8 p.m. at East Richmond Community Hall
- Saturday, February 20; 5 to 8 p.m. at Thompson Community Centre
- Tuesday, February 23; 5 to 8 p.m. at Steveston Community Centre
- Wednesday, February 24; 5 to 8 p.m. at Richmond City Hall