Police Services Select Committee

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.

Accordingly, this issue will be included in the upcoming 2020 budget discussions.