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Policing British Columbia in the Year 2001: Report of the Regionalization Study Team

NCJ Number
Date Published
118 pages
This examination of the regionalization of police services in British Columbia (Canada) identifies ways in which policing can be more effective and efficient, given the steady growth of urban populations, the increasing sophistication of criminal enterprises, and the rising costs of public safety.
The study reviewed relevant literature and conducted interviews with mayors, police boards, police chiefs, and other experts. Most mayors and police board members opposed regionalization of police services. Their primary concern was the maintenance of current levels of police service and the prevention of police personnel from being drawn from suburban communities into downtown core areas. The potential rise in costs was also a concern. Maintenance of local identity was a lower priority. Police executives and other experts had a broad consensus in favor of regionalization of police services. The consensus was based in the belief that police forces can be more effective and cost efficient if resources are consolidated and reorganized. Most chiefs suggested ways to ensure that existing levels of service would be maintained under a regionalization structure. The models for police structure presented in this report are not ranked. They address the following general areas: directions that provincial leadership in public safety might take; ways in which police technology and services might be improved; incentives that could be offered to jurisdictions where regionalization might be profitably implemented; the potential value of consolidation of police, fire, ambulance, and other emergency services; and the financial benefit of engaging the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under contract to police municipalities and unincorporated areas. Extensive appendixes address various issues associated with the regionalization debate.