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Province commits $230M to rural and specialized policing

Premier David Eby and Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General announce more funding for rural police. Government of B.C. photo

The province has announced $230 million in new funding designed to help specialized and rural police forces with staffing.

The funding, according to the province, will ensure adequate and effective levels of policing and law enforcement, particularly in rural, remote and Indigenous communities, and in a wide variety of specialized teams that investigate and prevent complex, violent and organized crimes. The funding will also provide support to prosecutors and probation officers with respect to violent, high-risk offenders.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe, and my government is working on every front to protect our communities and make them stronger,” said Premier David Eby, in a news release. “As part of our Safer Communities Action Plan, we will help ensure that the RCMP can operate to its full capability to keep people safe. The actions today will help stabilize policing and provide our provincial police force with the staff resources they need to address public safety concerns head on.”

The funding, spead over three years, will tackle key public safety issues, including:

  • filling long-standing vacancies in rural police detachments in communities of less than 5,000 people;
  • allowing provincially funded regional RCMP units to reach their fully authorized staffing levels of 2,602 officers;
  • hiring additional officers in specialized units, such as the major crimes section, the sexual exploitation of children unit, and the BC Highway Patrol. These units serve rural and urban communities throughout the province and can help alleviate some work of municipal police forces, freeing them up to focus on other crime; and
  • creating a strong foundation to address anti-money-laundering recommendations from the Cullen Commission.

Staffing up these units will increase the overall capacity of homicide and missing persons investigations where foul play is suspected, and deterring the causes of motor vehicle fatalities, such as speeding, distracted driving and impairment.

“This historic commitment to invest in core RCMP police funding is a massive undertaking that took two years to achieve,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Sustained core funding will provide a strong foundation for police resources, enabling the police to focus on violent crimes and other pressing public safety issues, while also actioning the implementation of the Safer Communities Action Plan and other public safety initiatives.”

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