Policing Agreements and Funding
Residents in British Columbia receive policing from a number of different police services. There is a RCMP federal force, an RCMP provincial force, 62 RCMP municipal forces, 11 independent municipal police departments, and one First Nations Administered Police Service.
For information on the different police services in British Columbia see the Description of Policing in B.C. page on this website.
Police Services Division (see About Us page on this website) produces a publication called Police Resources in British Columbia. The publication provides an overview of policing functions and responsibilities as well as information on police resources and costing for municipal, provincial and First Nations policing jurisdictions.
The RCMP Agreements
There are three 20-year agreements that allow the RCMP to act as B.C.'s provincial police force as well as the municipal force for municipalities with RCMP services. The first two agreements are between the federal and provincial governments. The third agreement is between the Province of B.C. and municipality. These agreements replace the previous 20-year agreements, that were in effect from April 1, 1992 to March 31, 2012.
The agreements, effective as of April 1st, 2012, are as follows:
The agreements are explained in more detail in the following sections.
RCMP Provincial Police Service
The Provincial Police Service Agreement is signed by the federal and provincial governments. This agreement allows for the provision of provincial police services by the RCMP. The RCMP provincial force can be broken into two main categories: detachment policing and the provincial police infrastructure. For more information on the RCMP Provincial Policing see Description of Policing in B.C. page on this website.
The provincial government pays 70 percent of the cost-base described in the Provincial Police Service Agreement and the federal government covers the remaining 30 percent. A portion of the provincial cost for detachment policing is recovered through the Police Tax (more information about the Police Tax can be found further down this page).
RCMP Municipal Police Service
The Municipal Police Service Agreement is signed by the provincial and federal governments. This agreement allows the Province to sub-contract the RCMP provincial force to municipalities for police services. To contract RCMP municipal services, a municipality must sign a Municipal Police Unit Agreement with the Province. Currently there are 63 Municipal Police Unit Agreements in place.
Under these agreements the cost of policing is shared between the municipality and the federal government. There are two different cost-sharing formulas for municipalities with RCMP contracts:
- Municipalities with populations between 5,000 and 14,999 persons are responsible for 70 percent of the cost-base described in the agreement; the federal government pays the remaining 30 percent.
- Municipalities with populations of 15,000 persons and greater are responsible for 90 percent of the cost-base described in the agreement; the federal government pays the remaining 10 percent.
The cost-base of municipal police services outlined in the Municipal Police Unit Agreement includes costs such as members' pay and allowances, employer contributions to member pension and benefits, transportation, professional and special services, equipment, recruit training costs, and a portion of administration costs.
In addition, there are some policing costs for which the municipality is 100 percent responsible. For example, costs for accommodations such as the detachment building and cells for detaining persons, and costs for civilian support staff and furniture are also paid entirely by the municipality.
For more information on RCMP municipal policing see the Description of Policing in B.C. page on this website.
Independent Municipal Policing
There are currently 12 municipalities in B.C. that are policed by 11 independent municipal police departments. These municipalities are responsible for 100 percent of their policing costs. Municipalities generally acquire the funds for their independent municipal police department through local property taxes.
For more information on independent municipal police see the Description of Policing in B.C. page on this website.
The Police Tax and Funding Police Services in Small Communities
In 2007, property owners in municipalities under 5,000 population and unincorporated (often rural) areas began to pay for a portion of their police services through the provincial Police Tax. The Police Tax covers less than 50 percent of the costs of frontline provincial detachment policing.
For information on how the Police Tax was developed and is calculated, see the following documents:
First Nations Policing
First Nations policing is governed by a Framework Agreement for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP and First Nations Community Policing Service which requires three parties negotiate a 'Community Tripartite Agreement' – Canada, the Province and a First Nation Community, or a group of First Nation Communities – for the provision of a RCMP First Nations Community Policing Service.
Under a Community Tripartite Agreement policing costs are shared between the Province of British Columbia (48 percent) and Canada (52 percent).
For more information see the First Nations Policing page on this website.
Integrated Policing Teams
There are a number of integrated policing teams operating in the province. Funding arrangements for each team varies. For more information see the Description of Policing in B.C. page on this website.