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Sechelt Considers Police Staff Increase

Sechelt Considers Police Staff Increase

The addition of one municipal officer to the Coast’s RCMP detachment is to be debated during Sechelt’s 2021 budget discussions.
This recommendation came out of the Oct. 14 Committee of the Whole meeting. It was a response to the regional RCMP office’s inquiry about Sechelt’s Municipal Contract with the RCMP for the upcoming fiscal year.
Mayor and Committee member Darnelda Siegers said that putting the Region on notice that an additional officer may be requested can be done in advance of financially committing to the increased costs. Under the BC Municipal Police Services Agreement, once the regional office is notified that a municipality wants to add an officer, it has up to a year to meet that request.
In 2020, Sechelt budgeted $1.73 million for the contract services of about eleven officers at the Sunshine Coast detachment. Adding an officer will mean an increase of about $150,000 per year. Future year’s costs cannot be finalized as Canadian Treasury Board is negotiating its first collective agreement with members of the RCMP. Any new compensation levels settled on will be retroactive to 2016, when the union representing the police forces’ membership was ratified.
When the 2020 Sechelt budget was developed, a $92,000 increase to the operating budget equated to a general property tax increase of one percent.
Siegers noted that detachment Staff Sgt. Poppy Hallam is aware that a business case will be required to support any approval of a new municipally funded position.
Committee Chairperson Councillor Eric Scott said he supported consideration of an increase in RCMP staffing, given the level of growth and changes in the community.
Some factors that will impact how council will view the addition of a municipal officer remain unknown. These include changes to the Sunshine Coast RCMP Detachment that may result from the Town of Gibsons reaching a population of 5,000 and becoming responsible for a higher portion of its policing costs. Another unknown is the financial and other impacts that the potential change from RCMP to municipal policing in Surrey will have for other communities that share membership in the integrated policing teams. The Sunshine Coast participates in funding integrated teams for policing specialists, such as homicide and canine units. These teams are supported by contributions from detachments located in Lower Mainland and adjacent
areas. Connie Jordison

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