Colwood will fund two new West Shore RCMP officers and two civilian employees by 2021 and asks the province to contribute funding to the police force as well.
At Monday night’s council meeting, the City of Colwood decided to fund the additional officers with new construction tax revenue so current residential property taxpayers are not affected.
“Colwood was recently rated one of the safest communities in Canada and the second safest community in B.C.,” said Colwood Mayor Rob Martin in a statement. “We intend to keep it that way.”
West Shore RCMP currently has 81 officers and serves Colwood, Langford, View Royal, Highlands, Metchosin, Esquimalt, Songhees Nation, portions of the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area and the Trans-Canada Highway.
It is the province’s responsibility to fund smaller the smaller municipalities of Highlands, Metchosin, Juan de Fuca areas and Trans-Canada Highway areas.
Colwood, Langford and View Royal fund the West Shore RCMP as well and according to Martin, contribute higher proportions to the police force than the province.
“Whether you measure by population, service time, officers per capita or property assessments, the provincial contribution falls short,” Martin said.
Colwood, Langford and View Royal have sent a joint letter to the province requesting it increase its portion of West Shore RCMP funding to meet service needs, according to a Colwood media release.
A recent RCMP general duty staffing assessment outlines current and required resources. It recommends an increase of four general duty constables, bringing the number from 32 to 36.
That would increase total police strength from 81 to 90.
The report also shows that currently, general duty members are only able to spend 13.5 per cent of their time doing proactive police work. RCMP recommend that officers should be able to dedicate 25 to 35 per cent of their time to proactive policing.