Renewed calls from the mayors of Victoria and Esquimalt for a regional police department need to be carefully considered in order to meet the best interests of Greater Victoria. The Victoria Police Department needs help. Victoria and Esquimalt account for about one-quarter of the region's total population of 400,000, yet VicPD is tasked with protecting a downtown that serves the entire region.
Before the pandemic, Victoria and Saanich were engaged in a Citizens' Assembly process that will examine the benefits and challenges of merging the two municipalities. One of the outcomes will be a better understanding of how Saanich and Victoria police departments can work together. After all, their role is to improve safety for citizens, many of who have daily lives that cross between municipalities.
Before the pandemic, The Chamber was encouraged that the Citizens' Assembly process, currently on hold until in-person meetings can be done safely, was the best way to move forward on better regional services. The concerns voiced by VicPD show how vital it is for that process to move forward as soon as possible.