We live in a metropolitan region of 400,000 people with a single downtown that has all of the issues affecting cities of the same size across North America. Having separate police departments for the urban core and suburbs makes little sense, and it's time to revisit a regional force.
Last week, the Victoria Police Department announced it was making cuts to services to try and meet the budget imposed on it by Victoria city council. Eliminating a unit that kept tabs on people who have a history of chronically committing crimes will free up officers to respond to 911 calls.
Victoria Police Chief Del Manak is to be commended for his efforts to manage the resources he has available, but he's been tasked with making choices he should not have to make.
Victoria and Saanich are taking initial steps towards amalgamation by pursuing a Citizens Assembly to look at the pros and cons of merging municipalities. The Chamber supports the process, and we think one of the benefits will be a unified police force with the resources needed to serve all of our citizens.
Listen to Chamber CEO Catherine Holt on CFAX speaking about why we need a regional police force.
You can also check out Catherine's op-ed on how the province can help fix police boards to better serve communities.