Police Resources Impacted by Wildfire Situation

UBCM has received correspondence from the Province regarding the July 7, 2017 declaration of a provincial state of emergency under the Emergency Program Act, and impacts to local police resources resulting from the wildfire situation. As part of the Province’s efforts to manage this situation, resources within the Provincial Police Service and extra-provincial RCMP resources have been deployed or are under deployment authorization.

As a result of being in a provincial state of emergency, the situation is also considered a policing “Emergency” under the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA) and Municipal Police Service Agreement (MPSA), meaning:

  • This is an “urgent and critical situation of a temporary nature that requires additional police resources to maintain law and order, keep the peace or ensure safety of persons, property or communities;” and,
  • Local jurisdictional police do not have sufficient resources to manage the situation within their geographical boundaries.

As per policing agreements involving the federal government, Province of BC, and BC local governments, resources may be redeployed from one of the following Units:

  • A BC Provincial Police Service Unit;
  • A municipal or federal Unit within British Columbia; and/or,
  • RCMP resources from a different province or territory.

The Province’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General has invoked Article 9.1 and 9.2 of the PPSA and MPSA, which authorizes “internal redeployment of and a temporary increase to the Provincial Police Service.” This decision was made in consideration of the magnitude of the situation, and in anticipation that the wildfire situation may continue for some time.

Considerable extra-provincial and Provincial Police Service resources have already been deployed or are under deployment authorization. As British Columbia’s RCMP “E” Division includes the largest contingent of RCMP Members in Canada, local RCMP detachments may be called upon to redeploy some of their members to assist in this policing “Emergency.” Local detachment commanders will be assessing their local needs, determining their operational ability to assist, and should be consulting with their local mayors prior to making any determinations. The Province is required to pay costs associated with redeployment (e.g. Member salary, transportation, maintenance) at the appropriate cost-share.

The Province’s Policing & Security Branch and RCMP “E” Division endeavour to provide consultation and communication as the wildfire situation evolves. Any questions may be directed to Gayle Armstrong, Director, BC RCMP Service Delivery, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General at (604) 660-2986.

Update: following the release of this article, UBCM was provided a copy of a letter [PDF - 214 KB] from RCMP "E" Division Commanding Officer Brenda Butterworth-Carr to local government mayors and CAOs. In the letter, Deputy Commissioner Butterworth-Carr re-iterates the impacts of the current wildfires on RCMP policing resources, including redeployment of RCMP members under provincial state of emergency.

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