Minister’s Authority to Create Integrated Policing Units Strengthened

The Province has introduced new legislation that gives the Minister of Justice the authority to establish integrated policing units (i.e. major crime; police doges; dive teams etc.) anywhere in the Province.  The legislation also gives the Minister the ability to require that local government participate in the process and pay for the costs of the specialized units.  

Changes to the Police Act were introduced as part of Bill 4 – 2014 Miscellaneous Statutes Act (No. 2).  The legislative amendments are enabling in nature and are intended to clarify the power of the Minister of Justice to:

  • provide or reorganize policing and law enforcement in any area of British Columbia;
  • establish specialized policing and law enforcement services;
  • impose a duty on municipalities with a population of more that 5,000 persons to use and pay for the specialized services provided by a specialized service provider;
  • require that municipal police boards use and pay for specialized policing services that are established in the region.

The measures are in response to recommendations outlined in the Missing Women Inquiry that highlighted the need for better co-ordination of policing services across multiple jurisdictions.  The Minister of Justice has indicated that it is not the intent of the Province to impose the amalgamation of police departments or the delivery of integrated police services on local government.  However, the Province does see a need to delivery police services in a more coordinated and efficient manner and is looking to work with local government to address this problem.

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