Esquimalt council has unanimously voted to not renew its agreement with Victoria and the Victoria Police Department.

The two communities are currently under a 10-year agreement that sees the two jurisdictions share an amalgamated police force, which is up for renewal at the end of this year.

Following the vote, Esquimalt confirmed it would not renew the agreement and will instead pursue a new policing model.

In a statement, Mayor Barbara Desjardins said council did not make this decision lightly and said this was not a sudden or new problem.

“Esquimalt has been burdened by this model for many years. Council is looking at all options with safety, costs and fairness in mind,” Desjardins said.

“This issue represents a significant amount of Esquimalt taxpayer’s money that could be used on a variety of projects of benefit to the community.”

Shortly after the announcement was made, Chief Del Manak released a statement calling Esquimalt’s decision not to renew an agreement disappointing.

“Our officers have provided an excellent level of police service and have developed strong community connections,” said Manak.

“We know how much Esquimalt residents value these connections, from the positive interactions we have with residents every day, and the feedback we receive on our annual community survey. This decision is a cost-saving measure and no reflection on the excellent police service provided by VicPD officers.”

Manak said that he is hopeful that when it comes time for the province to review the decision, it will be “viewed through the lens of the recommendations from the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act, specific to a regional approach to a fragmented policing structure.”

Esquimalt and Victoria have been sharing policing resources since 2003.

Esquimalt’s share of the police budget was just under 14% ($8.4 million) in 2022. The City of Victoria pays the remainder of the budget.

The Township of Esquimalt has asked the province for $150,000 in funding to prepare the proposal.

While it’s still not clear how Esquimalt will move forward, a recent report released by the municipality in June shows the community would be qualified to bring in RCMP.

Esquimalt has a population of just under 18,000—any municipality with a population of over 15,000 who wishes to go the route of enlisting RCMP would see 90% of policing costs covered, with the federal government paying the remaining 10%.

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