(Surrey Now-Leader file photo)

B.C. government working with RCMP to address $10 million in budget cuts

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth issues statement following report of RCMP cost-cutting

B.C.’s public safety minister says the government is working with the RCMP to address a projected $10.7-million budget shortfall in the force’s provincial budget.

In a statement to Black Press Media on Thursday, Mike Farnworth said the RCMP has informed the province about a projected deficit, and that inflation, overtime and other costs have become increasingly difficult to manage.

“This has not impacted significant and continued provincial and federal investments into gangs and organized crime initiatives and prevention,” he said, including the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.

The RCMP’s provincial budget covers integrated units such as homicide investigation, traffic, and forensics, as well as rural policing. Urban centres, such as Kelowna and Surrey, are largely funded by municipalities.

READ MORE: RCMP has ‘no’ dedicated money laundering investigators in B.C. (April 8, 2019)

Late Thursday, director of B.C. RCMP communications Dawn Roberts emphasized that the cuts are still just a projection, and the first things on the chopping block are travel expenses, overtime, non-mandatory training, and new equipment.

That won’t be enough, however, she added, so senior officers will need to discuss options with the province.

“We’re trying to be as transparent as possible. We do not want to impact front-line policing operations,” Roberts told Black Press Media in a phone interview.

When asked whether integrated units could be affected, she said: “All of us are looking at our spending envelope and seeing whether or not we can make reductions.”

Brian Sauve, president of the National Police Federation, said called the cuts “concerning,” but nothing new.

He said he’s mainly concerned about how to maintain adequate service levels and how to ensure staff receive enough down time. He’s also seen mention of a “possible freeze” in staffing areas like transfers and promotions.

“Whether it has to do with extra work or working harder to get the job done, [Mounties] will still do it,” he told Black Press Media by phone.

The RCMP has not had union representation until now. The federation was finally certified as the official bargaining agent earlier this year following a historic court ruling back in 2015.

Sauve said he hopes to meet with the premier and public safety minister soon. Roberts said she anticipated that the union would be involved in future negotiations.

KEEP READING: Feds announce $10M for RCMP to fight money laundering (June 13, 2019)

ALSO: Surrey’s new police force must avoid VPD, RCMP errors in Pickton case, Wally Oppal says

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm opens respiratory clinic in response to COVID-19

Clinic will not be a walk-in centre, residents must call family doctor or nurse practioner first

Salmon Arm’s paving, pothole patching programs to begin in May

Long hard winter takes toll on roads, street cleaning underway

Last-minute hiring means Salmon Arm’s emergency shelter can remain open

Salvation Army’s Lighthouse shelter to stay open beyond normal closing date of April 1

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

North Okanagan-Shuswap MP donating raise to support food banks, women’s shelters

Mel Arnold said pay increase legislation didn’t account for a crisis like COVID-19

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

Call before you dig into spring projects during isolation: BC 1 Call

BC 1 Call gives free checks for utilities in the area of a desired outdoor project

B.C.’s intersection speed cameras putting more tickets in the mail

One Nanaimo location delayed after speed limit reduced

Friends of Dorothy’s drag queens deliver food in support of Kelowna’s first responders

The lounge is donating $5 from every order to first responders

Coquihalla closed in both directions, Medivac to land

DriveBC says drivers should expect delays of up to one hour

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

LETTER: Flights from infected countries should be banned

There is no excuse to allow those from infected countries to keep coming to B.C.

High cost, limited coverage for asthma medicine a concern during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. man says he skips puffs to save money, but others have it worse

Okanagan group fights isolation with online meetings

Monashee Toastmasters are keeping their distance but still getting together

Most Read