B.C. premier announces $230 million in funding for rural police and specialized units

Funding announced Wednesday by B.C. Premier David Eby will help fill vacancies in rural RCMP detachments and add officers to specialized units. (Christer Waara/CBC - image credit)
Funding announced Wednesday by B.C. Premier David Eby will help fill vacancies in rural RCMP detachments and add officers to specialized units. (Christer Waara/CBC - image credit)

B.C. Premier David Eby has announced that the province is injecting $230 million in funding to help fill vacancies in rural RCMP departments and hire additional officers for specialized units.

The money will be delivered over three years and is also intended to address recommendations that came out of the public inquiry into money laundering, the government says.

"Everyone deserves to feel safe, and my government is working on every front to protect our communities and make them stronger," Eby said in a news release.

His statement says the money will be targeted at filling "long-standing vacancies" in rural communities of fewer than 5,000 people, as well as allowing regional RCMP units to reach their full authorized staffing levels.

Money will also go toward bringing additional officers into the RCMP's Major Crimes Section, the Sexual Exploitation of Children Unit and the B.C. Highway Patrol.

The premier says the plan is to support homicide investigations and missing persons files where foul play is suspected and to prevent traffic deaths.

Eby has been in office for less than a week, and so far, public safety has been a major focus of his policy announcements.

That followed a civic election season where public perceptions of increased crime became a central issue in many cities.

B.C. Liberal MLA Elenore Sturko, a former RCMP officer, described the funding announcement as "long overdue" and suggested it was strategically saved by the NDP until Eby was sworn in as premier.

"We're happy to see the funding but just like a lot of announcements Premier Eby has made this week, what took so long?" she said.