The New Westminster Police Department could face increased costs in the coming years due to downloading from senior governments.
At its June 15 meeting, the New Westminster police board received a report about a financial review of the Police Academy at the Justice Institute of B.C.
“In a nutshell, the province has funded the Police Academy to the tune of about $1.9 million. On top of that, currently every recruit that goes there pays about $12,000 in tuition to help offset some of the costs,” said New Westminster Chief Const. Dave Jansen. “There is no doubt that costs have gone up but funding hasn’t gone up equally to the cost of the JI. With the added training that’s required with the different provincial policing standards, different changes that came out of the curriculum review, they have over the past several years, run a deficit.”
A consulting firm’s review of the Police Academy determined its finances have been in a structural deficit, rather than a one-time financial challenge. It concluded this situation will worsen with the anticipated addition of the Surrey Police Department and the related impact on recruit training demand from other police departments.
Jansen gave the police board a heads that the changes that are being proposed will impact the police department’s budget.
“The province has let the board know that, starting in April 2024, all costs of the recruit training will be borne by the municipalities. That is going to be approximately an additional $19,000 per recruit that cities are going to have to pay for every recruit that goes to the JI,” he told the police board. “For New West, I can’t give you an exact number, because it does fluctuate a little bit, but that is approximately an extra $120,000 a year when we are in our normal stage of hiring about six new members per year. This year has been a bit of an anomaly, and the cost would have been close to $240,000 if we were having to pay the full cost now.”
Jansen said the NWPD’s management and the police board need to be preparing for that funding change. He said more discussions about the issue will be taking place at the B.C. Association of Police Boards.
“I am sure over the next year or two there will be further discussions about implications of these costs, the downloading that is occurring. We have also got cost increases from E-COMM,” he added. “These are all things that are adding up.”
Mayor Jonathan Cote, chair of the police board, said the board has known for some time that this discussion is coming, so there’s some time to discuss and prepare for the changes.