The RCMP and Halifax Regional Police have been discussing the pluses and minuses of continuing to have RCMP contract policing in the HRM (See "Cop vs. cop," Reality Bites by Tim Bousquet, page 4). The question has apparently been decided on cost effectiveness with some politics thrown in and very little public engagement.
At present we have in the region two police chiefs: the Chief of the Halifax Regional Police and the superintendent of the RCMP, who each look after their respective police services. On paper the chief of Halifax Regional Police is responsible for all of HRM, however in reality he does not call the shots for the RCMP who are under contract to HRM.
The present arrangement appears to have failed, since Halifax still has one of the highest rates of violent crime in Canada. Why is the rate so high if we have two capable agencies combining resources? Maybe it is because there are separate policies involved and separate accountability processes. Maybe it is because of local RCMP stewardship or maybe it's because of stewardship within the Halifax Regional Police---most other regions have one police service but HRM has two, yet still remains in the top 10 most violent cities in Canada.
On the economic side, does HRM need to rely on contract policing or is it prepared to police the HRM under one police agency? No doubt the size of HRM will once again limit our options. —Jim Hoskins, Halifax