Police Services Select Committee

Current Status

Q1 2020 – Based on the report received by Council in December 2019 (see below), a 1% increase in taxation was proposed in the 2020 budget, with the resulting money being used to establish a Police Services Reserve Fund. However, due to the potential negative financial impacts of COVID-19 on Town citizens, Council ultimately decided not to proceed with this rate hike.

Q4 2020A letter has been received from the Executive Director of the Policing and Service Branch (PSB), confirming that if Gibsons should exceed 5,000 population in the 2021 Canada Census, the transition to municipal policing responsibility would be effective April 1, 2022. To assist with this process, PSB staff have initiated development of a Policing Information Package for the Town that includes information about the Town’s current police services, highlights key components of RCMP Agreements, identifies a minimum resource level for the Town and estimated costs for the provision of RCMP municipal services, post-transition.

Background

Under the BC Police Act, the provincial government must provide policing and law enforcement services to municipalities under the 5,000 population threshold.

Once the municipality exceeds 5,000 people, it must pay 70% of its policing costs and provide policing and law enforcement by means of one of the following:

(a) forming its own municipal police department;

(b) entering into an agreement with the Province under which policing and law enforcement in the municipality will be provided by the RCMP; or

(c) entering into an agreement with an adjacent municipality that has a municipal police department.

According to BC Stats, the estimated population of Gibsons was 4,943 in 2018, with the next federal census scheduled to take place in 2021.

In anticipation of reaching the 5,000 population threshold at the 2021 Census, the Town of Gibsons’ Council established a Police Services Select (PSS) Committee in February 2019.

The purpose and scope of the PSS Committee was to provide an overview of the history of police services in Gibsons, identify issues and actions to improve the level of policing services in Gibsons, and discuss options for policing the Town of Gibsons.

Committee Findings

On December 17, 2019, Council received the report titled “Police Services Select Committee Final Report”.

In the report, the committee recommends that the Town opt for an agreement for RCMP policing, but with a contract that spells out specific service levels.

To date, all municipalities which have crossed the 5,000 population threshold have chosen the RCMP to provide their municipal policing services.

Currently, Gibsons is covered as part of the RCMP’s rural service contract with the Province. Under that model, ratepayers in Gibsons pay about $403,000 in policing taxes.

Under the 70% cost-sharing model, the Town will need to raise between $739,978.40 and $1,001,221.20 in new taxation, depending on the number of dedicated officers for Gibsons.