The RCMP provide policing services to 60 of the 71 incorporated communities in this province and to all of the unincorporated areas as well as to 192 First nations communities. We do so through service delivery that is administered through four districts.
The RCMP Lower Mainland District (LMD) is a dynamic and diverse area that stretches from Pemberton to the US border and from the Sunshine Coast to the Coquihalla Summit. The RCMP Lower Mainland District serves 1.6 million people in over 20 communities, including numerous Aboriginal communities. The LMD has 13 regional or detachment police offices in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, Mission, North Vancouver, Richmond, Ridge Meadows, Sea-to-Sky, Sunshine Coast, Surrey, University (UBC), Upper Fraser Valley Regional, and White Rock. We have several detachments that police two neighboring communities. RCMP Ridge- Meadows, North Vancouver, Coquitlam and Langley all police two major communities from one police service center.
Although in close geographic proximity, the regional or detachment police offices vary greatly in size and service composition; from 17 members at UBC to over 560 members in Surrey, from primarily rural to densely urban, from high income to low income, and from suburban to destination resort. Approximately 2,240 RCMP police members and 600 support staff devote themselves to protecting people who live, work, play and travel in the Lower Mainland communities. The region has diverse policing challenges, and offers exciting career opportunities.
The Lower Mainland District also includes specialized, fully integrated support services such as the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), Lower Mainland District Forensic Identification Services (LMDFIS), Lower Mainland District Police Dog Services (LMDPDS), the British Columbia Integrated Gang Task Force (BCIGTF), the Lower Mainland District Emergency Response Team (LMDERT), and the Lower Mainland District Traffic Services (LMDTS). Some services, by example Air 1 and the BC Integrated gang Task Force are fully funded by the Province of BC and others such as IHIT are co-funded by both the Province of BC and the municipalities served by the team. In the case of the new full time Emergency Response team, we were able to secure a funding arrangement that is very attractive to municipalities wherein we have a cost sharing between the Federal, Provincial and the RCMP policed municipalities. In integrated policing, funding arrangements are dependent on the nature of the specific police service and who the client is, but to be clear, there is no integrated service solely funded by our municipal partners.
We are committed to removing boundaries that have traditionally hampered the effectiveness of inter-jurisdictional law enforcement. Criminals don't care about boundaries or jurisdictional borders. Our message is clear - every RCMP regional police office and detachment has the strength of the entire Lower Mainland District behind it. Working together, as one team, we are stronger and more effective in our fight against crime.
New thinking and new technology is key! The creation of a 170 member Lower Mainland Tactical/Critical Mass Group for major events and disasters and the Lower Mainland Traffic Safety Helicopter (Air 1) with its specially-trained crew, providing assistance during vehicle pursuits, combating organized street racing, and taking enforcement action against impaired and/or aggressive drivers are just two examples.
In 2007/2008 the British Columbia Integrated Gang Task Force (BCIGTF), will continue to focus on gangs involved in chronic violent criminal activity as they are now fully staffed and fully operational. The full-time Lower Mainland District Emergency Response Team (LMDERT) moves into their second year of operation and will build on the numerous successes that saw the team respond to several high profile incidents as well as a host of other critical incidents where tactically, the local detachment's ability to deal with the issue had been exceeded. The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT), which pioneered the collaborative approach to homicide investigation, will continue build their investigative capacity. IHIT has become a national best police practice.
The Lower Mainland District Police Dog Service (LMDPDS) now provides service 24 hours a day throughout the District by integrating the 34 available teams. Integration of Forensic Identification Services (FIS) resources into the Lower Mainland District Forensic Identification Services (LMDFIS) has expanded shift coverage in most communities - at no additional cost. Lower Mainland District Traffic Service (LMDTS) saw the amalgamation of 7 highway patrols into one seamless traffic service to the primary highway transportation corridors within the LMD District, all under the leadership of one Officer in Charge.
In addition, we have seen the successful integration of operational front line service delivery units. RCMP Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment provides a central point of management, co-ordination and modern comptrollership for the detachment areas of Hope, Chilliwack, Boston Bar and Agassiz. RCMP Sea to Sky Regional Police
Services provide a central point of management, co-ordination and modern comptrollership for the detachment areas of Pemberton, Whistler, Squamish and Bowen Island. Sunshine Coast Detachment is the very successful outcome of the amalgamation of Gibsons and Sechelt Detachments.
We remain dedicated to Crime Reduction initiatives that will lower the overall crime rate and enhance the public safety of our communities. Crime Reduction is a driving theme for all of our detachments with each working with their respective local government on establishing priorities and working towards the key actions in a crime reduction strategy. We recognize the need to target the prolific offender, those that are a small percentage of the population but are responsible for the majority of reported crime.
We recognize that policing is a huge draw on scarce public tax based funds and we are working diligently with the communities on arrangements and service models that will allow communities to get the very best possible level of policing for those public funds invested in law enforcement.
These significant initiatives either completed or still in progress, will achieve our service commitment of "safe homes and safe communities".