ROBERT BARRON CITIZEN
The Municipality of North Cowichan wants to be a partner in a Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit because serious investigations in the area are costing the local RCMP detachment some serious coin.
CAO Dave Devana told councillors Wednesday that the Attorney General for B.C., Suzanne Anton, is currently reviewing the details of the agreement between the partnering municipalities involved in the unit.
The VIIMCU, which is made up of officers from RCMP detachments and municipal forces in the Greater Victoria area, was formed in 2007 as a means for various police departments to co-operate in the investigations of serious criminal cases.
While the unit currently has no partners outside the Victoria area, the province recently passed legislation to establish similar integrated crime units, and is now reviewing how these units would be funded by participating areas.
Last year, the municipality supported, in principle, the addition of one full-time RCMP officer to the local police detachment who would be seconded to the unit, if North Cowichan became a participant.
Devana said there is a “compelling need” for the municipality to be a part of the unit, particularly for homicide investigations.
He said involvement with the unit would help offset the high costs of these investigations to the municipality.
Devana referred to a criminal case last November in the municipality in which an assault victim was not expected to recover from his injuries.
“Given the resource issues of our police department, we obtained the assistance of the VIIMCU homicide unit,” Devana said.
“The unit worked with our detachment for 35 days, and the expenses for VIIMCU assistance to the investigation were $110,000. Had we been an active participant and contributor to VIICMU, there would have been no additional cost for the assistance to the municipality.”
Devana urged council to canvas the attorney general on when her review would be complete, and when North Cowichan could become an official part of the unit.
Councillor Al Siebring said if that one case last year could cost the district so much, what would be the costs if there were two or three similar investigations going on at the same time?
“This is certainly something we need to move forward on,” he said.