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  • Writer's pictureRiley Gettens

RCMP Costs - rural vs municipal

Under the terms of the Provincial Police Service Act (PPSA) and the Police Act, rural (Area F, for example) and unincorporated (OK Falls, Kaleden and Naramata) areas are policed by the RCMP Provincial Police Service. The provincial government pays 70% of this service's cost, and the federal government pays the remaining 30%.

The terms of the Municipal Police Service Agreement (MPSA) and the Municipal Police Unit Agreement (MPUA) require that municipalities between 5,000 and 14,999 population pay 70% of the RCMP cost with the federal government paying 30%. Consider towns like Oliver and Osoyoos where the community is getting closer to 5,000 people. That is why you will see 9% or 10% tax hikes - they are getting ready to cover 70% of the town's police cost once their population hits 5,000.

Municipalities with 15,000+ population pay 90% of the cost. The federal government pays 10%. Municipalities are responsible for 100% of certain costs, such as accommodation (i.e., detachment) and support staff.

I asked a colleague to compare my 2019 property bill with a comparable Penticton property. My household paid $72 for RCMP, a similar home in Penticton paid $680. The MPSA and MPUA are considerable gifts to rural areas where the population could not support the cost of an RCMP detachment or a police service like the Vancouver Police Department.

In Greater West Bench, we are close enough to Penticton that we benefit from the municipally funded RCMP. In Faulder, Meadow Valley and North Beach, we benefit from Summerland's RCMP investment. It is a benefit that goes both ways as Penticton and Summerland also have access to our rurally funded RCMP officers.

According to this report, there are 46 RCMP officers in Penticton, 9 in Summerland and 7 rural officers to service Areas D, E, I and F. If we have an emergency, the most-able RCMP officer will respond, they won't wait until the provincially funded rural officer is available.

I understand and share the frustration with crime in our Area (especially with repeat offenders, which is not an RCMP issue but BC Criminal Justice issue). I also know that residents can feel like the RCMP don't care because they don't come in person to each call. However, there is a priority matrix applied at the call centre. RCMP are dispatched based on those priorities. Not a perfect system, but it is the one that best deploys limited resources to where they are needed most.

Given how much each property in Area "F" pays towards RCMP, we come out ahead. However, the RCMP could always use more support and organizations like Citizen on Patrol, Crime Stoppers, Victim Services are always looking for more volunteers. More info here.

Thanks again for reading.


Riley Gettens

Comments and feedback are always welcome


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