RCMP contracts provides predictability for municipalities but there are limitations to the efficacy of this relationship, says former College of New Caledonia faculty Eric Tompkins.
The recently released findings of the Prince George City Budget Survey indicated that almost half (49%) of respondents favoured an increase in the amount of municipal funds allocated to policing services. However, Tompkins suggests that the RCMP is best suited to national policing, such as cyber crime, environmental crime, and tax evasion, and that other professions should assume more responsibility for local issues tied to mental health, substance use, and homelessness.
The survey did not allow respondents to specify what aspects of policing they view as requiring more funding, though Tompkins speculates that a recent uptick in shootings and a "visceral reaction to street crimes" may be the cause. He speaks from personal experience, referencing the drive-by shootings that happened on his street just a few weeks ago. While fear, Tompkins says, is an understandable and appropriate reaction, the assumption that more punitive measures will quell the violence may be unfounded.
Recently, Tompkins has seen a certain amount of political will to reform the role of the RCMP surface at City Hall, but questions whether the public interest and awareness is there yet to fund social workers and social services instead. The full City Budget Survey report can be found here.