Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Langley City Council Defers Giving Approval in Principal to RCMP Budget. Wants to Be More Active Partner in Community Safety.

As the single largest operating cost of Langley City, Council surprisingly has little say in the strategic priorities of our policing service.

Community Policing Office

For all other City departments and services, Council controls the strategic priorities. Langley City staff provide detailed presentations each year about the upcoming budget year, and as you may see in public meetings, Council has frank discussions about what should and should not be part of the budget.

The details of the budget are made available to the public.

For policing, Langley City Council does not control the strategic priorities. This inability to set strategic priorities is partly due to the complex agreements between the federal government and provincial government over contract policing with the RCMP.

As for budget, Langley City Council’s only authority is to set the number of RCMP Members (police officers.)

While 95% of Langley City residents are happy with the overall quality of life in our community, they are concerned about community safety. In 2004, 82% of residents felt safe and secure. In 2019, only 67% felt safe and secure. As shown, this number has been trending down.

Overall Community Safety from 2019 Langley City Community Survey. Select image to enlarge.

While the current contract with the RCMP for policing service does not give Council authority to set priorities, the RCMP should still partner meaningfully with Council to set priorities even if they don’t have to on paper.

As the order of government closest to the people, Council understands people’s concerns and desires around community safety. Our policing contractor should be willing to work with Council to ensure that their strategic priorities align with the community’s priorities.

While Council has asked for a few years now to be a more active partner in policing strategic planning, this has yet to occur.

Every year, the RCMP asks Council to “rubber stamp” their budget Approval in Principle for the upcoming year. This time, Langley City Council pressed pause, passing the following motion yesterday.

TO POSTPONE THE PENDING MOTION until after Council meets with the new Officer in Charge of the Langley Detachment of the RCMP to discuss how the Langley Detachment’s proposed budget and internal plans align with Langley City’s Interim Strategic Plan goal to “create new protective and supportive services.”

I look forward to Council becoming a more active partner in community safety.

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