Toews in City to talk policing

Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews was in Langley last week to discuss RCMP accountability.

Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender believes the RCMP will be more accountable for the bad apples in their ranks, with proposed changes to the RCMP Act.

Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews was in Langley last week to discuss RCMP accountability.

“He met with myself, Darryl Plecas, the head of the Police Complaints Commission and representatives for Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts,” said Fassbender.

Plecas is the director of the centre for criminal justice research at the University of the Fraser Valley.

“Toews was here to ask our opinion of the changes to legislation. My initial review shows that signing with the RCMP is a good thing.”

He is confident that problem officers can be dealt with much quicker under the enhanced act.

“Up until now, the RCMP Act has prevented swift action,” he said.

Shamed RCMP officer Monty Robinson is still on the RCMP payroll after being convicted for obstructing justice in a crash that killed a young motorcyclist. He is also facing a trial for committing perjury in the inquiry into the tasering death of Robert Dziekanski where he was the senior officer.

Under the new Act, the RCMP commissioner will be able to get rid of bad apples, said Fassbender.

“But with that, he needs to run a tight ship,” he urges.

“Officers on the streets are doing a first class job, but where things can improve is in the management of the RCMP.”

He believes the RCMP reputation has been damaged with female officers filing a sexual harassment class action lawsuit and recently the transfer of disgraced Edmonton Sgt. Don Ray to B.C.

“Unless we make systemic changes, the public won’t change its perception.”

Toews wanted B.C.’s opinion on Bill C-42, the proposed Enhancing RCMP Accountability Act.

Fassbender represented B.C. municipalities in contract talks with the RCMP and was criticized by a few mayors for the outcome, which was not what municipalities signed up for.

Many mayors, including Watts, were outraged when it was found out that the RCMP didn’t disclose all the costs cities would incur with signing the new contract.

There are still a few cities debating about not using the RCMP in the future for this reason.

The concern mayors have repeated through the process is they are happy with the service RCMP officers provide, but the costs and accountability of the force is not manageable.

One of those concerns is the cost of the new $1.2 billion E Division headquarters in Surrey. The headquarters will include  a mess hall, which will allow officers to drink when they get off shift. It will be used for a variety of social events.

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