A proposed regional police force is being considered by municipalities in the CRD

Generic Police Car

The idea of a regional police force is being floated, but while some are in favour of the idea, others are opposed.

The Victoria Police Department already serves both the Township of Esquimalt and the City of Victoria, and the potential amalgamation would include the districts of Saanich, Central Saanich, and Oak Bay.

Speaking to CTV Vancouver Island, Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins says she's in favour of the expansion.

"Criminals know no borders.  We could, I think, really consolidate several services, do a better job, because more resources could be put towards them if we took on a regional approach"

Vic PD Chief Del Manak is in favour of the idea, saying it would help take some of the pressure off his officers.

"The Victoria Police Department is responsible for the region's only downtown core, and the region's only major urban centre, which brings a lot of extra people that we have to police, that do not pay taxes.  So what it highlights is the disproportionate volume that our officers have to deal with, in relation to our counterparts in the suburb."

He adds that the E-COMM emergency dispatch centre is an amalgamated force that is proven to be efficient at covering the entire CRD, and the same could be done with a regional police force.

Victoria Mayor, Lisa Helps, agrees with Manak and Desjardins.

"People work in one municipality, work in another, go to an opera in another, have a drink on a Friday night in another.  So people move around the region all the time, and having comprehensive, seamless service across the region, or at least around the core, I think is a good rational for a regional police service."

Meanwhile, Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes says he's opposed, saying he doesn't want his taxpayers to have to foot the bill for a police service that wouldn't focus much on his municipality.   He compares it to charging other municipalities for amenities in Saanich.

"We do not turn around and ask Victoria to pay for our parks, or our recreation centres, which everyone enjoys."

He adds that Saanich residents also already contribute to Victoria by going into the downtown core to shop and got to restaurants.

The idea of an amalgamated police force has been proposed before in 2009, but as before, it would require all the municipalities to be on board, which is not the case at this point of time.

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