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    Richmond gets more bang for buck by sticking with Mounties: RCMP report

    RICHMOND, B.C. - The City of Richmond gets more bang for its buck by keeping the RCMP compared to other policing services it may be considering, says a report by the force.

    Insp. Ted De Jager said the report, which was prepared by E Division, B.C.'s RCMP headquarters, was in response to Richmond studying other options in a bid to save money.

    "As a measure of efficiency, Richmond detachment currently deploys fewer officers per 100,000 citizens than independent municipal police forces, averaging 14 per cent below the RCMP average and 30 per cent below the independent municipal groups," the report says.

    De Jager said Thursday the Mounties have serviced the city south of Vancouver for more than 50 years and currently have 229 members, 18 of whom report to integrated teams.

    He said the cost per member is about $146,000, and added that figures contained in other reports being considered by Richmond are incorrect because they are based on costs billed to the city for all the officers.

    "If that amount is wrong from the outset then that's going to drive all the other numbers out of balance and that's really what's happened here. We have the actual numbers of how much policing costs the City of Richmond and they report it regularly to their mayor and council in their annual reports."

    De Jager says the non-unionized RCMP saves money by having only one member per patrol car, for example, compared to two officers working for independent forces in most large municipalities as part of their collective agreements.

    Municipalities such as Richmond, which have a population of more than 100,000, pay 90 per cent of policing costs and the federal government pays the rest, De Jager said.

    Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said the city's safety committee met Wednesday to discuss alternative policing models because it currently has no say in how many officers are on the integrated teams, for example.

    Brodie said that while the RCMP is doing a good job, he has questions about how the $1-billion cost of the force's new headquarters in Surrey will be paid.

    "I think it's more likely that we would take the option of forming an independent force and then secured the services of Vancouver (Police) or one of the other neighbouring municipalities to give us specialized services," he said, adding that might include forensics and dog services.

    Justice Minister Shirley Bond said she's not surprised Richmond is considering other options after joining several municipalities in signing a 20-year contract with the RCMP earlier this year.

    "I think that their constituents will certainly want to know before any changes are considered on what the cost implications might be."

    The RCMP contract contains a two-year opt-out clause, and a mandatory review in five years.


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