Tignish mayor questions whether town getting its fair share from RCMP

The mayor of Tignish wants more details from the RCMP to make sure his town is getting what it's paying for.

RCMP bills for 40 hours a week but mayor says they don't see a breakdown of those hours

Tignish Mayor Allan McInnis says he understands paying for officers to go to court but doesn't think the town should be paying for vacation and training hours. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The mayor of Tignish, P.E.I., wants more details from the RCMP to make sure his town is getting what it's paying for.

Mayor Allan McInnis met with P.E.I.'s new commander last Friday to discuss his concerns. He said the town is paying $132,000 a year for 40 hours of police coverage a week, about a quarter of the town's budget.

But, McInnis said he doesn't think the town is getting its money's worth when it has to pay for vacation and training time for the RCMP and when fines have dropped from $17,000 a few years ago to $7,000 last year, money that goes back to the town.

"My constituents are stating that we're not getting the presence in the community that we should be from the RCMP," McInnis said. "I agree with them. I don't think we're getting the coverage in the community at the best of times."

The mayor of Tignish says council should get a breakdown of how RCMP officers spend their time that they bill the town. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The Department of Justice and Safety said in a statement that the discretion of fines is up to police and that vacation and training are included in the contracts.

"Communities with extended service agreements are paying for one full-time position of an RCMP officer," the department said. "This includes eligible leave and training and this is the same in all communities with these agreements."

No breakdown of hours

McInnis said the RCMP gives the town a monthly account of hours, but with no details about how those hours are spent. He wants a breakdown of what the hours the RCMP bills the town contribute to, such as presence in the community, courtroom time and training.

In a statement to CBC, RCMP said members from Prince District meet with the Tignish mayor and council on a regular basis to obtain feedback on policing concerns and to set priorities going forward.

My constituents are stating that we're not getting the presence in the community that we should be from the RCMP.— Allan McInnis

The mayor has passed his concerns on to the district commander and P.E.I.'s commanding officer, and the RCMP said both will be working to ensure McInnis's concerns are addressed, and that he is kept well informed of the RCMP's actions and initiatives in the town.

"From time to time issues or concerns arise in relation to the policing services that we provide in various communities in the province, and when they do, we liaise with our clients to address them, and endeavour to provide service that meets their needs and expectations," the RCMP said.

With files from Laura Chapin