There is much merit in the idea of merging the five municipal police forces and the RCMP detachments in Metro Vancouver. There are bound to be efficiency gains from having a merged administration and larger centralized specialized departments.
Also, as pointed out in Wally Oppal's recently released Missing Women Inquiry Report, it is likely that a merged police force would have a better chance of solving major crimes in the region.
However, as usual, the devil will be in the details.
Before deciding to support such a proposal I want to see the details. What policing structure will be proposed? I would not like to see a takeover by the Vancouver city police, rather there should be an entirely new structure.
I don't think the headquarters should be in Vancouver, but rather closer to the centre of the region where the fastest growth is occurring; perhaps somewhere in Surrey.
Also something will have to be done about policing levels and per capita costs, since some cities such as West Vancouver and New Westminster have much higher policing levels and per capita costs than others such as Burnaby and Coquitlam.
Although such a proposal is superficially attractive, a great deal of work must be done on the details before it will be possible to make an informed decision whether to proceed with it.
Garth Evans, Burnaby
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