Local Government Policing Communications Portal


UBCM and the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General have partnered to provide a portal of background information regarding policing in British Columbia. The information is intended to be a resource for local governments, to help provide a broad overview of RCMP contract policing and other related issues.

The local government policing communications portal is intended to be an evolving webpage. Currently, information is available under the following categories:

  • Structure of Policing in BC
  • Local Governments with Populations Under 5,000
  • Local Governments with Populations Over 5,000
  • Statistics and Reporting
  • Acts and Agreements

For more information, please see UBCM's fact sheet on policing.

Structure of Policing in BC

In BC, policing is provided primarily by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) (federal, provincial and municipal services), independent police departments (including one First Nations Self-Administered Police Service) and several agencies that provide supplemental policing in BC (they are mandated to provide policing in geographic areas already service by provincial or municipal police agencies but for a specific purpose).

RCMP - Federal Service
Established under the RCMP Act, the RCMP serves as the federal police service as well as the provincial and municipal police service. The RCMP falls within the portfolio of the Minister of Public Safety Canada and operates under the direction of the RCMP Commissioner. In BC, and across the country, the RCMP enforces federal statutes and is responsible for border integrity, national security, drugs and organized crime, financial crime and international policing.

RCMP - Provincial Service
The RCMP provincial service can be divided into two main categories: detachment policing and the provincial police infrastructure. Detachment policing provides local police services to municipalities with a population of under 5,000 and unincorporated areas throughout the province by means of uniformed patrols, response-to-call duties, investigative services, community-based policing, traffic enforcement, and administrative support to provincial detachments.

The provincial police infrastructure has the capacity and expertise to resolve high risk incidents; target organized crime, gang violence, and serial crimes; respond to existing and emerging crime trends; as well as provide security and policing services for large scale community events and emergencies.

Municipal Policing
Under the BC Police Act, a municipality must assume responsibility for its police services when, according to the Canada Census, its population exceeds 5000. These municipalities may form their own independent municipal police department, contract with an existing independent municipal police department, or contract with the provincial government for RCMP municipal police services.

Independent Municipal Police Departments
Municipal police departments are referred to as “independent” because they are each governed by a police board. The role of the police board is to provide general direction to the department, in accordance with relevant legislation and in response to community needs. Each police board is chaired by the municipality’s mayor, and consists of one person appointed by the municipal council and up to five people appointed by the provincial government. Board members are civilians. Independent municipal police departments are 100% responsible for their policing costs.

RCMP - Municipal Services
RCMP Municipal Services are municipal police services that are contracted with the provincial government.

The RCMP operates regional and integrated detachments in many areas of the province.

An integrated detachment is comprised of two or more provincial and/or municipal police units working out of the same detachment building. The detachment works on a post-dispatch system which means members respond to calls in any of the policing jurisdictions regardless of where the member is assigned.

Regional detachments offer a central point of management, coordination and comptrollership for multiple integrated or stand-alone detachments in the area. These types of arrangements allow for specialized and/or administrative police services to be delivered regionally.

First Nations Policing
Through the First Nations Policing Program (FNPP) the federal government and BC provide funding to support policing services that are professional, dedicated and responsive to the First Nations communities they serve. The FNPP was established in 1991 to provide First Nations communities the opportunity to participate with the federal and provincial governments in the development of dedicated RCMP service to their communities. The FNPP is designed to give First Nations communities greater input over the delivery of policing services within their communities.

To receive FNPP services, a First Nations community enters into a Community Tripartite Agreement (CTA) with Canada and the Province. In BC there are 132 First Nations communities with 55 CTAs.

Integrated First Nations Police Units
In 2007, a policing agreement was signed by the provincial government, the West Vancouver Police Board, and the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations to create an Integrated First Nations policing unit. This policing arrangement covers reserve lands located in North Vancouver, West Vancouver and the Squamish Valley.

First Nations Self-Administered Policing
The Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police are the only First Nation Self-Administered Police Service in BC. It is governed by a police board whose members are selected from each of the ten communities it serves. Police officers recruited by the police board are either experienced officers or graduates of the Justice Institute of BC, Police Academy.

Integrated Teams
There are a number of integrated teams in the province. These teams may be “integrated” in one or more ways:

  • They are comprised of police officers from more than one police agency or members from at least two levels of policing (i.e., federal, provincial, municipal); and/or
  • Multiple governments (federal, provincial, municipal) contribute to funding the team.

In addition, integrated teams provide services to more than one policing jurisdiction. In BC, there are three broad categories of integrated teams: federal, provincial and regional/municipal.

Federal Integrated Teams: may include members from independent, municipal, provincial and/or federal agencies but are funded primarily by the federal government. Federal integrated teams/programs are included under Federal Serious and Organized Crime (FSOC). FSOC is comprised of multi-disciplined groups and teams such as those formerly known as Integrated Border Enforcement Team (IBET), Coordinated Marihuana Enforcement Team (CMET) and Integrated Proceeds of Crime (IPOC).

Provincial Integrated Teams: may include members from independent, municipal, provincial and/or federal agencies but are funded primarily by the provincial government. The provincial teams include Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), Hate Crime Task Force, Integrated Sexual Predator Observation Team (ISPOT), Integrated Witness Protection Services, and the Unsolved Homicide Unit.

Regional Integrated Teams: may include members from independent, municipal, provincial and/or federal police agencies. These teams are formed to address concerns or provide services to specific regions of the province. For example, the Lower Mainland District (LMD) Police Dog Service provides service to all RCMP municipal and provincial policing jurisdictions in the RCMP Lower Mainland District, as well as Abbotsford, Delta, New Westminster, and Port Moody Police Departments. The costs of these teams are shared between the participating jurisdictions according to pre-determined funding formulae.

Local Governments with Populations Under 5,000

Under the terms of the PPSA and the Police Act, municipalities under 5,000 in population and unincorporated areas of BC are policed by the RCMP provincial service, with the provincial government paying 70 percent of the cost-base described in the Agreement and the federal government paying the remaining 30 percent.

A portion of the provincial cost is recovered through the Police Tax. In 2007, municipalities under 5,000 population and unincorporated areas began to pay the Police Tax which covers a portion of the costs of the general duty and general investigative police services (GD/GIS) provided by the RCMP provincial service. In 2017, the Police Tax recovered 33 per cent of the Province’s estimated 70 percent share of rural and small community GD/GIS costs. Revenues go into the Province’s Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Detachment policing provides local police services to municipalities under 5,000 population and unincorporated areas throughout the province by means of uniformed patrols, response-to-call duties, investigative services, community-based policing, traffic enforcement, and administrative support to provincial detachments.

Local Governments with Populations Over 5,000

The provincial and federal governments signed a 20-year master agreement, the Municipal Police Service Agreement (MPSA), which enables the provincial government to sub-contract the RCMP provincial service to municipalities. The MPSA describes the terms and conditions for the provision of RCMP municipal police services. To contract RCMP municipal services, each municipality must sign a Municipal Police Unit Agreement (MPUA) with the provincial government.

The terms of the MPSA and the MPUA require that municipalities between 5,000 and 14,999 in population pay 70% of the RCMP cost-base; municipalities 15,000 population and over pay 90%. The remaining 30% and 10%, respectively, are paid by the federal government. Municipalities are responsible for 100% of certain costs, such as accommodation (i.e., the detachment) and support staff.

Statistics and Reporting

List of Potential RCMP Policing Costs/Savings to RCMP "E" Division Municipalities [PDF - 97 KB] - June 2017

Acts and Agreements

Constitution Act, 1867
BC Police Act
Provincial Police Service Agreement
Municipal Police Service Agreement
Municipal Police Unit Agreement


Bhar Sihota
Policy Analyst
(604) 270-8226 x114

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