Transit Police a waste of taxpayer money: report
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2012 7:11PM PDT
An independent report on Metro Vancouver's Transit Police has concluded that the force is not worth the $27 million it costs to operate every year.
The 2011 report was produced in Edmonton, which was considering creating a similar police force before studying the B.C. model.
The Edmonton officer who authored the report, acting Supt. Garry Meads, wrote that, "The inefficiencies of this model are quite obvious. It had been mentioned to me that this type of police service designation will not likely be repeated in the province."
The report points out that every part of the SkyTrain policed by transit officers is within another department's turf, meaning that the forces sometimes double up their resources to deal with a single crime.
"This type of arrangement has resulted in much confusion and inefficiencies," Meads wrote.
The report was unearthed by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, which says the study should spell the end for the transit police force.
"TransLink needs to take another hard look at the model before investing any more money in it and probably scrap it to save money," Jordan Bateman of the CTF told CTV News.
But TransLink says the force is keeping crime down and has a shorter response time than municipal police departments.
"We have seen our safety confidence in the public go up, we've seen our customer satisfaction ratings go up. I think there's a good value to the public here," TransLink COO Doug Kelsey said.
And Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom agrees.
"I think people feel safer today on the SkyTrain system. I think that people are looking for that," he said.
The Edmonton report says that the force has another problem: Bored officers trying to chase crimes outside the SkyTrain system, causing friction with other police departments.
"When you put fully trained police officers in a transit environment, and restrict their work area to transit properties, they realize fairly quickly that transit crime and disorder work is not that interesting," Meads wrote.
Transit Police Chief Neil Dubord says the job is not boring and his officers welcome the chance to stop crime, even when it happens off TransLink property.
"If we see a victim being victimized within a parking lot, we're going to take the necessary action to prevent that victimization," he said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward