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Langley Chamber Statement and Update on Langley RCMP Split

Langley Chamber Statement and Update on Langley RCMP Split

Langley Chamber Statement and Update on Langley RCMP Split

The Township of Langley Council has voted to de-integrate the Langley RCMP so that the Township would have a standalone detachment. Currently, the Langley RCMP serves both the Township and the City of Langley through a cost and resource sharing agreement between the two communities.   

Crime and policing are key priorities for Langley business and the Langley Chamber.  We would support efforts to make policing more effective in our community, but have questions about the proposed transition and its impacts, and concerns about the potential costs on both communities and their taxpayers.   

The Langley Chamber urges both parties to ensure all avenues are exhausted to amend the current agreement first, and that if a division moves ahead that the community receives clear and transparent information on the costs (one time and ongoing), timeline, and impacts to policing services in both communities. 

The Chamber is engaging directly with elected officials at both the Township and the City on this issue now, and will continue to advocate throughout any future transition for the long-term interests of our members.

The Issue:

The Township maintains that its own detachment would ensure more policing resources and attention are dedicated to the Township’s needs, and points out that the Township has funded an additional 33 new officers since 2009 whereas the City has authorized 1.    The City says it pays its fair share for policing, and that with 1 officer per 558 people it far surpasses the benchmark goal of 1 officer per 700 people. 

Currently, the Township is budgeting to spend $39 million on policing this year, while the City will spend $15.5 million.  The policing costs include both RCMP officers and detachment services, capital assets and administration, with the cost-sharing amounts determined through a formula based on population and volume of criminal cases. 

Currently, officers must respond to calls in either jurisdiction, and where there are disproportionately more calls in one community versus the other, there is an arrangement to financially compensate for that.  However, despite any financial adjustments, the physical policing resources and officers still will be assigned to where there are more calls.

Langley Chamber's Questions:

Crime and policing is a key priority for Langley business and the Chamber of Commerce.  We support efforts to make policing more effective in our community, but have the following questions and concerns about this transition:

  • Why are we moving to de-integrate now?

The RCMP cost-sharing agreement has been in place for many years, and if there are genuine concerns with its fairness or appropriateness there are mechanisms for renegotiation.

Splitting the Langley RCMP will almost certainly be a complex, lengthy and costly exercise. Before undertaking that, the Langley Chamber encourages both the Township and the City to ensure all existing avenues for improving the current arrangement have been exhausted.  Coming to a renegotiated agreement that addresses all concerns may be a more desirable outcome than a full split and we encourage both parties be open to this first.

  • What is the cost to split the Langley RCMP? 

The total costs to split the RCMP have not been made public.   The Township has suggested the transition will be paid from existing RCMP financial reserves, but without knowing the total costs we cannot know if this will be sufficient.    The Langley Chamber would like more transparency on to the financial impacts of this change. 

For the Township, there will be one-time costs to end the cost-sharing agreement, including paying out the City for a portion of the capital assets – the detachment building, equipment, cars, etc.,   In addition, while the Township already funds its own officer allotment, without the City contributing to administration and operations, you would expect these costs could rise as well. 

For the City, while it would receive a one-time payment from the Township, it would then have to build-out a new detachment and fund its own policing resources.  If this is more than the payment from the Township, this could be a very significant cost to the City.   In addition, the City would then need to fund this new force as an ongoing expenditure. 

The Langley Chamber is concerned that the transition costs could be significant, requiring additional tax revenue to fund, and wants clarity from both the Township and the City on what would be involved.

  • What will this mean for police services in Langley? 

The Township believes its own dedicated force would provide more attention and better service to Township residents. The Langley Chamber wants to understand the full reasoning behind this and what it will mean for police services, response times, etc. in Langley Township.

When residents or businesses need the police, they need to be able to respond quickly and effectively.  With 1,500 RCMP vacancies in BC today, including many in Langley, dividing the Langley RCMP into two smaller forces could leave us with insufficient officer strength given those staffing challenges.

The Chamber wants assurances that levels of service will not be negatively affected, and that improvements – such as in response time -- will be realized as part of this transition, both in the Township but also in the City.

We also would like a clear understanding of the potential timeline for this transition. 

More Info
Read the Township of Langley's statement here > 
Read the City of Langley's response > 

Your Input
Have thoughts?  Share your input with the Chamber here >