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British Columbia

New training strengthens police oversight, governance

New training for police chiefs will provide the tools for strong and effective independent leadership and supervision of local police agencies in their communities.

As policing becomes more complex, people expect modernized services that reflect the current and future needs of their communities. Police officers need specific skills and knowledge to perform their statutory duties and responsibilities.

“Strong leadership and oversight are critical to maintaining public confidence in policing, and I’m proud that British Columbia is leading the way in innovative police training,” said Mike Farnworth, Secretary of Public Safety and Attorney General. “We are investing in public safety to help build stronger communities across the province. This new training will help make board members more effective and support quality police and security services in the community.”

The new BC Police Board Training Program, the first of its kind in Canada, familiarizes board members with the issues, processes and regulations they face in their jobs. The province worked with WATSON Advisors Inc., experts in governance and oversight, to develop a three-course training program tailored to the specific needs of BC police departments.

The courses are guided by the recommendations of the report of the Special Committee on Reform of the Police Act, which outlines a vision for policing and community safety based on anti-racism, community and accountability, and highlights the need for comprehensive training for police authorities.

“Joining a police body can be overwhelming. New members need to adapt quickly and oversee complex policing matters,” said Charla Huber, president of the BC Association of Police Boards. “Police Council members have strong skills, expertise and experience that enhance the leadership roles of officers. This training provides board members with the essential knowledge required, a clear understanding of their leadership and supervisory responsibilities, and ultimately the importance of working with police leadership to ensure public safety.”

An introductory online governance foundation for recently appointed board members, launched in November 2022. Foundations 101, which teaches new board members the basics of governance, was launched on January 27, 2023. Applications 201 will educate board members on more complex governance responsibilities and issues and is expected to be available later this year. Board members are expected to complete all courses during their tenure.

The groundbreaking training is part of a series of public safety investments the province is making to build safer communities across British Columbia. The Safer Communities Action Plan, announced in November 2022, strengthens enforcement and uses services to keep repeat offenders off the streets and connect people to the help they need. Also, $230 million in new grassroots RCMP funding will help staff specialized units and rural police forces.

Fast Facts:

  • There are 12 metropolitan police departments in BC with 76 appointed police departments: Abbotsford, Central Saanich, Delta, Nelson, New Westminster, Oak Bay, Port Moody, Saanich, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria and Esquimalt, and West Vancouver.
  • The full three-course program is offered by provincial-appointed and council-appointed board members.
  • The goal of the province is to have police departments that reflect the diversity of its community, including indigenous peoples, and are composed of qualified individuals who act in the best interest of the public.

Learn more:

To read the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act report visit: https://www.leg.bc.ca/content/CommitteeDocuments/42nd-parliament/3rd-session/rpa/SC-RPA-Report_42-3_2022 -04- 28.pdf

For more information on the Safer Communities Action Plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022PREM0090-001743

To learn more about applying for law enforcement positions, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/justice/criminal-justice/policing-in-bc/municipal-police-boards/becoming – board member

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