Esquimalt: Victoria Police Out - RCMP In





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Published on Oct 18, 2011

VICTORIA - Nearly eight years after the province forced Victoria to take over policing in Esquimalt. The town is dumping the Victoria Police Department.

"The decision is to go with the RCMP to transition away from Victoria Police," Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins told CTV News "It best fit what the community wants."

The Victoria Police Union is upset with the decision. It says it only found out when CTV News contacted the union for comment.

A visibly shaken union president says he is worried for his members.

"My heart's beating fast right now for our members. I don't know where it's going to end up," Sean Plater told CTV minutes after the decision was posted on Esquimalt's web site.

"I am shocked at this decision. I think it's the wrong decision. I think if I was a resident of Esquimalt I would be extremely mad because there's no way you are going to get the police service that they have right now," says Plater.

Esquimalt began complaining about level of service provided by VicPD, and the cost of policing shortly after the province amalgamated the two forces in 2003.

When Barb Desjardins became mayor three years ago, the dispute became more heated.

The province conducted a review allowing the town to look at other options.

And just days ago Solicitor General Shirley Bond appointed a mediator to bring the two sides together. Desjardins says that is only a temporary measure.

"We see it as an extension of the audit that was produced before," the Esquimalt Mayor explains.

Victoria's Mayor is also shocked by the announcement, and he is puzzled why the Solicitor General would appoint a mediator knowing Esquimalt had already made a decision to go with the RCMP.

"I have no understanding why a mediator was appointed from the province," Dean Fortin tells CTV News "I was actually looking forward to meeting with the mediator to understand what they were trying to accomplish. We really do need to look for leadership from the province."

But the Solicitor General is looking for more information before approving Esquimalt's choice, and says he can overrule the decision.

Follow Stephen Andrew on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CTVNewsStephen

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