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B.C. should ditch RCMP and form its own police force, all-party committee says

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A committee of provincial politicians from all parties has recommended British Columbia stop using the RCMP and form its own police force.

The Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act released its report, Transforming Policing and Community Safety in British Columbia, on Thursday, along with 11 recommendations it said would improve policing and accountability in the province.

Committee chair Doug Routley, the NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, said the “structure and delivery” of police services in B.C. is challenged, contributing to “a lack of trust.”

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Deputy chair Dan Davies, B.C. Liberal MLA for Peace River North, said one of the major issues was that police were being used as the “default first responders” to mental health and other “complex social issues” and that there was a need for more resources to be given to other services, such as social workers, to tackle these problems.

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The full list of recommendations includes:

  • That B.C. transition to a new provincial police service governed by a new Community Safety and Policing Act;
  • That Indigenous communities have direct input into their police services;
  • That the government “create and appropriately fund a continuum of response to mental health, addictions and other complex social issues” and that mental health services be integrated into 911 options;
  • Reforming police funding models to be more “fair and equitable” for municipalities; and
  • Requiring police services to collect and publicly report race-based and other demographic data in order to address systemic racism within policing.

More to come.

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