LETTER: Phase in added staff for RCMP to lighten tax shock

Dear editor,

In February RCMP Inspector Tim Walton for Comox Valley called for increasing staff by four constables and one support person.

Reasons given included: last increase was in 2011; Courtenay constables have the fifth highest workload per RCMP for municipalities of its size in B.C.; Courtenay’s policing costs are among the he cheapest per person in the province; and, there are increased calls for service since 2007.

By region a rural taxpayer pays about $50 per year, in Comox $94 and in Courtenay more than $200. Generally in B.C., using the RCMP is cheaper than a city having its own police service. For example: annual per capita costs in Vancouver are $422, which has its own police, whereas Mission and North Vancouver, both RCMP communities, pay $274, and $185, respectively.

actors such as employment and poverty are important in determining crime levels. Also, what is the level of trust and confidence by the community towards the police? These are less specific in assessing how effective the local policing is. Community support and involvement can make the policing more effective. RCMP contracts include federal funding/subsidization to more than 100 municipalities and smaller communities that are 10 per cent – and 30 per cent if under 15,000 population.

If part of the local request for additional officers can be allocated to rural communities the cost will be more attractive.

Given the above I suggest the Regional District as well as Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland give consideration to the additional staff request but phase it in over a four-year period: a support staff and officer in the first year plus one additional officer in each of the following three years. By phasing it in this way it will be easier on the taxpayer.

Ed Zirkwitz,

Royston

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