BRITISH COLUMBIA

Vancouver Police Support Regional Police Force

01/21/2013 12:15 EST | Updated 10/21/2013 09:03 EDT
VANCOUVER - Vancouver's police chief says his department supports a key recommendation from the Robert Pickton inquiry for an amalgamated police force across the Metro Vancouver region.

Chief Jim Chu made the comments in an administrative report to be presented to the Vancouver Police Board on Tuesday.

The report outlines for the first time the force's official response to 63 recommendations from inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal.

The report also supports Oppal's recommendation that the province commit "to establishing a Greater Vancouver police force through a consultative process with all stakeholders."

Chu declined comment on whether he favoured a single, unified police force when the recommendations were released last month, although Oppal's plan immediately renewed a debate that has long divided the region's mayors.

Oppal concluded serial killer Robert Pickton was able to evade arrest for years, in part because he picked up sex workers in Vancouver but murdered them in Port Coquitlam, exploiting rivalries and poor communication between city police and the suburban RCMP.

Oppal also found bias against sex workers was a key factor in the botched investigation, and he called for the renewal of the now-disbanded Vancouver Police and Native Liaison Society.

But Chu noted the city already has the Aboriginal Community Police Centre, which he said is doing the job of the former Vancouver Police and Native Liaison Society.

Chu will comment further on the department's response to Oppal's report after presenting the VPD report to the police board on Tuesday.

The Missing Women Commission of Inquiry released its findings in December, examining years of police failure to track Pickton as he found victims on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and then took them to his suburban Port Coquitlam farm to kill them.

Oppal said in his report that Metro Vancouver is the only large area in Canada without a regional police force and that contributed to a lack of co-ordination between two agencies in two jurisdictions while Pickton continued his killing spree.

The former judge and attorney general also said mores studies aren't needed on the regional policing issue, which has been debated for decades.

Attorney General Shirley Bond has acknowledged the province recently signed a 20-year contract with the RCMP but noted there’s an opt-out clause if there's a decision to move to another model.

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