The Capital Region’s mayors will put policing under the microscope at a special round-table discussion hosted by Oak Bay.
Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen had hoped to host the inaugural meeting at the end of January, but there were still several questions that need answers.
With the heady topics of policing services and possibly the justice system up for discussion, it may be necessary to separate the topics and hold two meetings, Jensen said.
His intent is to bring municipal leaders together to allow them to compare notes on the advantages and disadvantages of different policing models.
Consolidation or integration of select services as well as a regionalized service will likely be part of the talk, Jensen said.
“As a regional group do we want to explore some of these options? Are there better ways to do policing in the region than we have now, or are we happy with what we have?” he said, adding that the mayors he has spoken to have expressed a keen interest in getting together.
It will be important to look at the options that may be realistic for a region of this size, as well as models used by communities beyond the South Island, he said.
“If there’s agreement and we’re all happy with the situation then … we’ll accept what we have and we’ll move on to other issues.” Jensen said, adding that if there is consensus that policing needs further exploration, other stakeholders, such as police chiefs and RCMP detachment commanders, would likely be included.
Jensen is also looking to possibly invite justice experts, such as former or current judges, to round out the agenda.
“I’m trying to work something out so that I can bring some people in to speak about the justice system because the two issues are kind of connected – the challenges in policing and the challenges in the justice system,” said Jensen, who worked as a Crown prosecutor for more than 25 years until about a month ago. He is still a lawyer within the provincial government
That part of the discussion could broach how courts are dealing with repeat offenders, the reason for case backlogs, and identifying the causes of police overtime when officers are required to attend court.
“Anything is possible when you understand some of the root causes and some of the possible solutions,” Jensen said.
Where the upcoming meeting, which will not be open to the public, will be held also needs to be finalized.