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City of Richmond, BC, considers booting out RCMP, raising own police force


Army.ca Fixture
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Sigh, if this passes, there goes the RCMP's Auxiliary Constable program in Richmond.

Vancity Buzz

City of Richmond considering giving RCMP the boot
10:50 AM PDT, THU AUGUST 13, 2015

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said the city is opening up the floor to the public on whether they should eliminate the RCMP and move to a municipal police force.

At the moment, the city is tied into a contract with the RCMP for 20 years, but the contract can be broken with two years notice and provincial approval of a new police force.

Mayor Brodie told Vancity Buzz the two issues he’s concerned with are that of governance, since the RCMP is Ottawa-based, and finances.

“There are a lot of financial issues with the RCMP that don’t get easier over time.”

One of the major financial issues Mayor Brodie cited was the building of the Green Timbers RCMP headquarters in Surrey when they had a “perfectly good headquarters” that they left behind in Vancouver.


“My read on it is that the local detachment has done a really good job and I’d be surprised to hear that there’s a distrust.”

Mayor Brodie expects the public consultation will take place early in the Fall, and if all goes to plan, Richmond could have a new police force by 2018.

Abbotsford, Delta, New Westminster, Port Moody, Vancouver, and West Vancouver all have municipal police forces.
I think the mayor is going to find just as much financial issues with a new Municipal force. I can't imagine what the cost would be to start a new police force from scratch not to mention where would experienced officers come from?
Teager said:
I think the mayor is going to find just as much financial issues with a new Municipal force. I can't imagine what the cost would be to start a new police force from scratch not to mention where would experienced officers come from?

Experienced officers would retire from other forces outside BC, begin drawing pensions from their previous employer, and start to work in BC for another 10-15 years, building a second pension with the Richmond force.
And somw RCMP members would transfer their pensions (if possible) and become members of the Rchmond Police Service.
Teager said:
I think the mayor is going to find just as much financial issues with a new Municipal force. I can't imagine what the cost would be to start a new police force from scratch not to mention where would experienced officers come from?

Given the costs per RCMP member under the various contracts as well as the other associated costs I'm sure the Mayor is looking at it as a way to get more bang for his buck by having a department they had more fiscal and administrative control over.  I know that many smaller departments that were disbanded in favour of the RCMP or, in Ontario, the OPP now wish they had retained their old departments.  Quite often they find that by using existing city infrastructure and other distributed resources they already have they can spend the same amount of money yet end up with more officers on patrol and more oversight wrt to contracts, pensions and manning policies. 
In some cases I agree and others I disagree. I think for citys they should have there own force. When you look at the size of some of the areas that the OPP cover it makes more sense cost wise as the area is larger and covers multiple communities with everyone sharing the cost. I've found that the OPP struggle with large places like Orillia and still policing the townships around that area.
Not just a BC problem ....

Not surprisingly, part of the issue is politics/optics.  When RCMP/OPP/whatever outside policing agency raises their fees, local politicians see that as "them outsiders with no understanding of our reality are just pulling a unilateral money grab".  If it runs its own show, the municipality would have (at least a bit) more direct control over budgets. 

Two caveats there, though:
1)  As they find more and more things being mandated by provinces, municipalities will offer up the same complaint as above from local governments, only aimed at the provincial government.
2)  I don't know how BC is organized, but in Ontario, if a police service doesn't feel it can safely work with the budget a municipal council agrees to, they can go to these guys for a ruling - see complaint in Caveat 1.
>I can't imagine what the cost would be to start a new police force from scratch not to mention where would experienced officers come from?

Other lower mainland departments.  Police know what the relative salary levels are.
About 3 years ago I was involved as a civil consultant on an Ontario municipality that was looking to boot the OPP out and reestablish their old municipal police force. Now, this township was much smaller then Richmond, BC (15k vs 190k) but a notable cost saving could be demonstrated over a 7-10 year period. It was interesting to note:

1) how little service the Township actually got from the OPP in terms of number of PC's actually in the AOR, especially off hours,

2) how little control the Township had over policing, despite having membership on the police services board, this was compounded by the OPP rotations of SSgts in-and-out of the senior position and the default position of referring policing service issues to their higher headquarters,

3) how the costs kept rising, sometimes unpredictably as the OPP changed their funding model. The Township felt that they had little control over the OPP as a contracted service and ability to negotiate / contain costs as they were the resident police force, 

4) how easy it is to find peace officers willing to come set up / run a new police department. They literally were coming out of the woodwork when it was rumoured the OPP was going to get dumped,

5) how complex running your own dispatch service can be,

6) how receptive other surrounding municipalities would with with mutual aid agreements, and

7) how pissed off the OPP was that the Township was thinking of unloading them.  They took a number of proactive steps to engage the consultants and sell the OPP policing model as well as trying to engage key elected and non-elected officials. In the end, I think they came up with a service cost reduction which in the end I suspect is why they are still the resident police force.

Salaries are your upfront and recurring costs. Equipment and infrastructure can be financed over a number of years, even if there is some initial procurement requirements upfront.

Changing from RCMP to a municipal police service in Richmond would be relatively easy.  If I remember correctly the Richmond Detachment and all satellite offices are owned by the City of Richmond. So your base infrastructure will not change, nor its costs.

The majority of the equipment (computers, cars, firearms, etc) would be a big one time up front purchase but after that it would not be different than any department in upkeep. Office supplies are used on a regular rate so no differences buying them for RCMP or Muni.

Resourcing, most of the support staff are Richmond municipal employees so good continuity. It is only the police members who would wear a different uniform. There are plenty of RCMP or other police officers who for various reasons (move home from other provinces, change departments for personal reasons, etc) who would be interested in joining Richmond. Finding people would not be an issue different than EPS, CPS or VPD recruiting issues.

But where the differences are is in administering that police service which would add an increased costs to the City of Richmond (legal services-liability section, police garage, training staff, WCB-OHS, etc). There is a lot of background people that support operational policing in the area of police administration that Richmond doesn't see because they work for E Division HQ.  They would now need their own people for these. Presently they get an efficiency of being included in those spots with the other RCMP Detachments. On their own they won't have that.

Now the last real question is what about actual HR costs per police member. I have read over a dozen studies on the cost of the RCMP vs a local police service. I have yet to find one where a municipality can run a police service for a lower cost. Invariably the muni police member costs more simply do to provisions in their union contracts. And if it goes muni, Richmond will be unionized.

The biggest confusion for most people is the "all in costs" of an RCMP member vs the muni " salary". Towns look at the annual billing costs of a member and feel it is high. About $160,000 a year. But that is almost everything. Salary, benefits, training, kit, cars, etc. usually only offices and some overtime isn't included.

Richmond can go muni. But it won't be a money savings. In the end it will costs them more.

And that increased input they may seek? Isn't going to come in most cases. Most police actions, direction policies comes from the Provincial govt and direction from the court. The input the mayor has now through consultation is about what he will have with a muni police board.

In dealing with a couple communities that were RCMP and went to their own depts. invariably they wished they hadn't and a couple went back to RCMP. Each didn't understand the complexity of policing and thought they would have more say, more visible policing for less.


The studies were all in western Canada and departments ranged from 5 officers to comparable to Richmond. The depts who went on their own that were u satisfied were all 15 officers or less in rural western Canada.