NEWS

Delta mayor fights regional policing

03/14/2013 01:38 EDT | Updated 05/14/2013 05:12 EDT
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson held a forum Wednesday to rally opposition to the creation of a regional police force for Metro Vancouver.

Jackson said after hearing Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson support the idea, she wanted to begin discussions with other local leaders opposed to regionalization so they can fight it with a unified voice.

"If we don't speak up, it could just happen because no one has spoken up," she said.

Jackson says she opposes regionalized policing because it could never be as accountable or responsive to the community as Delta's smaller force.

Most of the communities that make up Metro Vancouver are policed by the RCMP, but Vancouver, Port Moody, New Westminster, West Vancouver and Delta have their own municipal police forces.

Vancouver's Deputy Chief Constable Doug Lepard was at the meeting to support regionalization, and responded to concerns about his city taking resources away from the suburbs, taking a jab at Surrey's higher murder rate.

"When I hear [Surrey] Mayor Watts saying regional resources will be sucked into downtown Vancouver, I say, 'No, no.' I worry they are going to be going the other way," he said.

The debate over regional policing reignited after Missing Women Inquiry Commissioner Wally Oppal concluded a regional force could have stopped serial killer Robert Pickton more quickly.

A regional police force would have to be created by the provincial government, but so far provincial politicians have not thrown much support behind the idea.

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