METRO VANCOUVER – Delta Police are the latest to come out against regional policing.
Chief Jim Cessford and Mayor Lois Jackson will hold a press conference this morning to tout the merits of community policing, following a decision by Vancouver Police Board to endorse 63 recommendations in a report by missing women inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal.
Oppal has recommended a regional force for Metro Vancouver, saying said a lack of co-ordination between police departments allowed serial killer Robert Pickton to pick up women from the Downtown Eastside and murder them.
Five cities in Metro Vancouver – Vancouver, Delta, New Westminster, West Vancouver and Port Moody – have their own municipal police forces. The rest, including Surrey, are served by the RCMP under a deal with Ottawa.
The recommendation has pitted B.C.’s two biggest cities – Vancouver and Surrey – against each other on the issue.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson maintains a regional force is so important, it should be a top issue in the upcoming provincial election, but Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts worried the move would water down local crime-fighting efforts. Instead, she said, there should be a two-tiered policing model that embeds community police into a regional force.
West Vancouver has also come out against the suggestion of a regional force.