Here are ten recommendations from the 2003 report on municipal police board governance from the Justice Institute of BC. There are many more recommendations listed in Appendix A of the report. Here, I’ve simply picked a few of the more interesting ones:
1) The Police Services Division should establish an annual plan for how they will provide effective support to municipal police boards.
2) Municipal police boards should adopt an agenda format that focuses discussion on issues of substance and that other matters be presented in the form of reports, which are supplied in pre-meeting reading package.
3) Municipal police boards should take steps to minimize discussion and time spent on matters that are for information only and focus discussion on issues that directly pertain to governance of the police department.
4) Municipal police boards should discuss, in public and within the confines of privacy legislation, both positive and negative agenda items.
5) Municipal police board meetings should be held regularly in public locations, where the public has free and unfettered access.
6) Municipal police boards should actively discuss and review their policy on which matters are moved to the in-camera portion of the board meeting.
7) The Police Services Division should allocate dedicated staff and resources such that reports of municipal police board in-camera meetings are reviewed in a timely manner.
8) The Police Act should be amended such that the Chair of the municipal police board be elected from within the board.
9) The Police Act should be amended such that the Mayor be an ex officio, non-voting member of the municipal police board.
10) Municipal police boards and police departments should actively seek out opportunities and venues in which the work and the contribution of the board might be better publicly recognized and acknowledged.
I’ve filed a “Request for Review” against Esquimalt with the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
This is in regard to an access request I submitted to the Township of Esquimalt on July 6th. I asked for a copy of the RCMP proposal received by Esquimalt in response to its RFP for policing services.
Esquimalt denied the request.
In a nutshell, their position is that they “cannot release the requested report in its entirety, or reasonably sever exempted information to disclose any part of it” as the proposal is exempt from disclosure under sections 12, 13, 15, 16, 17 and 21 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
These sections of FIPPA deal with serious matters including Cabinet confidence, government relations, the investigative techniques used by law enforcement, the financial and economic interests of various public bodies, the ability of the government to manage the economy, trade secrets and other issues.
My position is that Esquimalt does not genuinely believe the proposal is exempt, nor do they believe that harm will result if the proposal becomes public. If this were the case, Esquimalt Council never would have passed an in-camera resolution asking the RCMP to release its proposal.
Another concern is that the Township has informed me that it will not release any information without an actual Order from the Commissioner. Often these “Request for Review” disputes get resolved through mediation with the OIPC. However, after a statement like that, it is difficult to believe that Esquimalt will participate in mediation in good faith.
The Board Resourcing and Development Office has ongoing opportunities to serve on municipal police boards in British Columbia. The posting includes this statement regarding compensation:
There is no remuneration for board members; they serve as volunteers. However, Victoria and Vancouver Police Board members receive a meeting per diem as per board policy and rates.
The Vancouver Police Board posts its annual per diem report on its web site.