A lengthy report on policing in Moncton, Riverview and Dieppe prepared by consultancy firm Perivale+Taylor says the region should continue using the RCMP for policing services, rather than create a new municipal police force.
“The supporting evidence is first of all cost,” Perivale+Taylor vice-president Robert Taylor told reporters after a presentation to Moncton city council on Thursday.
The report says staying with the RCMP would save the city $132 million over 15 years.
“The other issue is the challenges in establishing a 150 to 180 person police agency from scratch. That’s not to say it can’t be done but there’s a high risk,” Taylor said.
He said recruitment in policing was challenging, noting that Victoria, B.C.’s police department was offering a $20,000 signing bonus to attract staff.
He also noted that Moncton’s need for bilingual officers could add an additional bottleneck to recruitment efforts for a municipal police force.
“It’s hard enough to hire a hundred and something people. When you want the majority of them to be bilingual, it adds another complication,” he said.
Councillor Paul Richard questioned Taylor on this during the presentation, saying the region had a larger basin of bilingual candidates to draw from than other cities out west.
Prior to 1998, Moncton had a municipal police force.
Councillor Bryan Butler served as a police officer and worked for the RCMP after they took over until 2013.
He questioned the accuracy of several points in the report, such as the estimated cost of a potential transition to a new police force.
No decisions were made at the presentation, and Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold said Riverview and Dieppe councils will be having their own discussions on the matter.
When asked what would happen if the three communities the Codiac RCMP serves disagreed, she said, “Moncton does have 70 per cent of the budget so I would assume Moncton has 70 per cent of the vote but we haven’t had those discussions yet.”
Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre said he believes Dieppe is best served by the RCMP, but they can back out of the tri-community arrangement if there is a disagreement.
“It’s not a question of one party imposing anything on the partners,” he said in an interview on Thursday.
“It’s clearly a three-party agreement between the three communities and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and if one of the partners wanted to walk away that’s our right.”
The RCMP’s agreement with the Codiac Regional Policing Authority lasts until 2032, but any party can back out as long as they give two years’ notice.
In an e-mailed statement, Riverview mayor Andrew LeBlanc said : “I’m confident that we’ll be able to work with all stakeholders on solutions to improve the future of policing in the area. The report will be discussed in more detail during an upcoming council meeting.”
In a statement released on Thursday in response to the report, J Division RCMP Assistant Commissioner DeAnna Hill said the RCMP “appreciates and accepts” the recommendations in the study.
Don Moore, chairperson of the Codiac Regional Policing Authority, said they will “review the results of the study, and commit to taking necessary steps towards implementing said recommendations.”
There is no set timeline for the three communities to make their final decisions.