Saanich and Oak Bay have entered into a new, five-year policing agreement to address the current needs of both municipalities’ police departments.
On Thursday (Aug. 13), Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch and Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes jointly announced that a new service agreement had been reached between the Saanich and Oak Bay Police Departments.
The municipalities initially entered into a joint service agreement in 2007 and again in 2012. The eight-year-old agreement expired on Aug. 1 and then new agreement went into effect.
The 2020-2025 agreement covers a variety of services including investigative work and IT support, and outlines the range of services that the Saanich Police Department has been contracted to provide to the Oak Bay police. The revised agreement will allow both departments to plan stable budgets and permit Saanich police to invest in new staff and equipment. The agreement also ensures that policing services are updated to adhere to the BC Provincial Policing Standards and meet the demand of “modern policing,” Haynes said.
Murdoch, who chairs the Oak Bay Police Board, noted the agreement is estimated to cost “between $250,000 and $500,000” annually. He added that the police departments’ shared values “ensure a seamless working relationship to the benefit of both communities.”
Haynes, chair of the Saanich Police Board, said the agreement is “a win-win” as it will allow both departments to control costs, integrate resources and deliver the best policing. Haynes is hopeful that a similar updated mutual aid agreement can be reached between the region’s fire departments.
As in past policing agreements between the municipalities, the 2020-2025 agreement will not impact Saanich and Oak Bay Police Departments’ contributions to regional specialty teams such as the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, Haynes said.