NEWS

Victoria-Esquimalt police deal stalled, former deputy says

10/04/2013 02:44 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
A former Vancouver Island deputy police chief is speaking out against the mayors of Victoria and Esquimalt this week, saying that politics is getting in the way of a finalized deal on policing.

In July 2012, then- B.C. justice minister Shirley Bond ordered Victoria and Esquimalt to reach a consensus on how to best operate their amalgamated police force, despite Esquimalt's request to end their reliance on Victoria police and contract the RCMP instead.

John Ducker, a former deputy chief of the Victoria Police Department, said in an interview with Focus Magazine earlier this week that the mayors of Victoria and Esquimalt put more effort into political posturing than aiding the police board in finding a resolution.

He also said that the negotiations have become so heated that some staff members from each community won't sit in the same room with each other.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardin said she can't see how a consensus might be reached.

"We all know the process is stalled. How do we speed it up? Well, we now have new board members, that might be part of it," she told CBC News.

Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin says the province will likely have to step in and help to resolve the issues on each side of the debate.

"We've exhausted the process. Now we're looking for assistance from the province," he said.

The current B.C. Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton, however, has said publicly she's not interested in trying to impose a solution and will leave negotiations to Victoria and Esquimalt.

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