Police report leaves no one unscathed

A few weeks back, Victoria, Esquimalt and the VicPD were finally treated to an outside analysis

A few weeks back, Victoria, Esquimalt and the VicPD were finally treated to an outside analysis of the protracted comedy of errors that has formed their relationship in recent years.

While the report by consultant Jean Greatbatch & Assoc., ultimately recommends keeping the amalgamated force, it also reveals a long history of deceit, xenophobia and gleeful incompetence on all sides of the ongoing debate over the 2003 amalgamation of the cities’ police forces.

The report’s criticism starts at day one, noting that the initial amalgamation process neglected to allow for any reviews of service delivery, budgeting or the general satisfaction of anyone involved in the contract. These provisions would have proven useful in 2004 when then-chief Paul Battershill eliminated the Vic West community policing division — an integral part of the initial agreement — and relocated several Esquimalt officers to the downtown beat.

Aiming to address the growing conflict, a 2010 review of the amalgamated force recommended a number of changes to allow Esquimalt greater control over its police. The ability to contract with forces other than VicPD, the ability to establish an independent oversight body accountable to Esquimalt council, and an attempt to fill the void of budget control all would have provided Esquimalt with some much needed breathing room.

Unfortunately, true to form, an unnamed group of Victoria senior staff and police board members took it upon themselves to challenge not only the results of the 2010 review, but the authority of the province’s director of police services to even get involved.

The criticism levelled at VicPD in Greatbatch’s report is relentless. The report describes failed attempts by Esquimalt council to simply receive the same information given to the City of  Victoria; near universal confusion over the responsiblity and proper authority of almost every part of VicPD governance; a dearth of standard governance policies that would help avoid conflict; and neglect of duty by the police board itself.

The list of offences this report offers is too long to even begin to complete here, and no one has walked away from this process looking good, but there is a silver lining. The report’s salient point is that the amalgamation was never given a chance to succeed.

Greatbatch makes 43 recommendations on how to set things right, and taxpayers can only hope that VicPD is currently discussing just how fast it can implement every single one. M

Just Posted

Emerging Sooke filmmaker takes spotlight with special award

Mary Galloway creates her own opportunities

Government House gala a great time to announce new Langham Court season

Production chair Alan Penty unveils 90-year-old theatre company’s plans for the coming year

Wild about nature photos: Royal B.C. Museum set to kick off annual exhibition

Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition winners, finalists’ works on display starting Friday

REVIEW: Allan Reid finds a meal fit for a king

Monday’s intrepid restaurant reviewer gets the royal treatment at the Fireside Grill

FILM FEST WRAP: Your winners, reviewer’s favourites make for differing lists

Kyle Wells takes a look back on the Victoria Film Festival’s 25th anniversary event

Seedy Saturday blossoms at Victoria Conference Centre this weekend

Speakers cover wide range of topics, including how to utilize small spaces for gardening

Port Alberni production tells real stories of casual racism

Divided We Fall coming to ADSS and the Capitol Theatre

Women dominated in Grammys nominations, but will they win?

This year’s nominees mark a departure from the 2018 Grammys

Most Read