The state of British Columbia will inject $230 million in funds, according to Premier David Eby, to assist filling openings in rural RCMP departments and hire more officers for specialized teams.
According to the administration, the funds will be distributed over a three-year period and are also meant to meet recommendations from the money laundering public investigation.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe, and my government is working on every front to protect our communities and make them stronger,” Eby said in a news release.
Premier of British Columbia David Eby and Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth said on Wednesday that a portion of the funds would be used to address staffing shortages at RCMP detachments in towns with populations under 5,000.
The money will also be used for adding more officers to specialist units including the BC Highway Patrol, the sexual exploitation of children unit, and the major crimes section. These units provide services to both urban and rural communities across the province, freeing up municipal police forces to focus on other crimes.
“The funding will ensure adequate and effective levels of policing and law enforcement across the province, particularly in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities, and in a wide variety of specialized teams that investigate and prevent complex violent and organized crimes,” Eby said.
The planning for this increase to spending took two years said Farnworth.
“Sustained core funding will provide a strong foundation for police resources, enabling the police to focus on violent crimes and other pressing public safety issues, while also actioning the implementation of the safer communities action plan and other public safety initiatives,” he said.
“Staffing up these units will improve public safety by increasing the overall capacity of homicide and missing persons investigations where foul play is suspected, and deterring the causes of motor vehicle fatalities, including speeding, distracted driving and impairment.”
BC Liberal MLA Elenore Struko said the announcement “should have been sooner”.