Provincial police could help mitigate gang-related violence and crime: Wally Oppal

An all-party legislative committee reviewing the Police Act has recommended changing to a provincial police service


A provincial police force with deeper local relationships and context could help mitigate gang-related violence and crime, according to former Attorney General Wally Oppal.

Announcement 2


“It’s about community input where a local force may have officers with more contacts on the ground,” Oppal said.

He added that ideally there should be regional police forces, such as one for the Interior, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, working together and sharing information.

“Right now, they’re addressing a lot of concerns with (the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team) and these different teams from different police forces,” Oppal said.

While the RCMP’s IHIT is responsible for investigating high-risk murders, suspicious deaths and missing persons when foul play is suspected, there is also the BC Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, or CFSE-BC, which attracts officers from 14 different police forces. agencies and is based at the RCMP “E” Division Headquarters in Metro Vancouver. It is mandated to investigate regional gang activity.

Announcement 3


Former British Columbia Attorney General Wally Oppal.
Former British Columbia Attorney General Wally Oppal. Sun Media

Oppal looked back on her job leading the investigation into the police investigation of Robert Pickton.

“The women were taken from the Downtown Eastside, an area policed ​​by Vancouver Police, and they were killed in Port Coquitlam, an area policed ​​by the RCMP, and they did not share information… the VPD was working alone in a silo and not getting the information. needed information. That is a classic example of how a regional police force with local input would be better.”

A provincial police force would also be accountable to the provincial attorney general instead of what currently exists with the RCMP reporting to an Ottawa-based commissioner, he said.

Some RCMP officers may remain in a community for extended periods, but may also be subject to removal or transfer at the behest of a federal office, Oppal added.

Announcement 4


In April, a committee appointed to reform BC’s Police Act recommended moving to a provincial police service for a new vision of policing and community safety.

The special committee, made up of members of the legislature from all three parties, was established to consider reforms for independent oversight, training, funding, service delivery and other issues.

BC has not had a provincial force since 1950. It is policed ​​by 12 municipal police departments and 130 RCMP detachments that police the rest of the province, including almost all of rural BC. The RCMP contract with the province runs until 2032. The city of Surrey, which has the largest RCMP detachment in Canada, is transitioning to its own municipal force.

ad 5


When the report was released in April, RCMP Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, the commanding officer in BC, said it would take time to review the report.

“The RCMP has a complex role in BC as we provide services at the municipal, provincial and federal levels,” he said in a statement.

Oppal said he is currently working with the Attorney General’s office in Alberta, where the government last week launched a website describing what a provincial police force would look like there.

In mid-July, a new poll showed that British Columbians were divided about abandoning the RCMP in favor of a provincial police force. The poll by polling firm BC Research Co. found that 39 percent agree with replacing the RCMP with a provincial force, while 38 percent oppose. About 23 percent of those surveyed were undecided.

Support for getting rid of the RCMP was highest in northern British Columbia, which is primarily policed ​​by the national force: 45 percent of those surveyed. Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island followed, each with 43 percent in favor of leaving the RCMP, followed by Metro Vancouver at 40 percent. Only 26 percent of those surveyed in southern BC thought it was a good idea to switch to a provincial force.

With an archive from The Canadian Press and Katie DeRosa

Announcement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their thoughts on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve enabled email notifications – you’ll now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there’s an update in a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.

Leave a Comment