A former Vancouver Island deputy police chief is speaking out against the mayors of Victoria and Esquimalt, saying politics is getting in the way of a finalized policing deal.
In July 2012, then- B.C. justice minister Shirley Bond ordered Victoria and Esquimalt to reach a consensus on how to best operate their amalgamated police force, despite Esquimalt's request to end their reliance on Victoria police and contract the RCMP instead.
John Ducker, a former deputy chief of the Victoria Police Department, said in an interview with Focus Magazine earlier this week that the mayors of Victoria and Esquimalt put more effort into political posturing than aiding the police board in finding a resolution.
He also said that the negotiations have become so heated that some staff members from each community won't sit in the same room with each other.
Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardin said she can't see how a consensus might be reached.
"We all know the process is stalled. How do we speed it up? Well, we now have new board members, that might be part of it," she told CBC News.
Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin says the province will likely have to step in and help to resolve the issues on each side of the debate.
"We've exhausted the process. Now we're looking for assistance from the province," he said.
In a statement Friday, the B.C. Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton said she will be meeting with the mayors of Victoria and Esquimalt to discuss this issue.
"I am hopeful we will be able to resolve this situation in the near future to provide certainty about the future of policing for the residents of Victoria and Esquimalt," she said.
Anton added that she believes recent changes to the police board’s membership would ultimately strengthen the Victoria-Esquimalt policing relationship.
An earlier version of this story wrongly attributed a quote to B.C.'s Justice Minister that was actually from the former minister. The current minister's most recent comments on this dispute have now been included in the story.Oct 04, 2013 6:19 PM PT