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Behind closed doors, HRM council votes to keep current police system

The make-up of policing in HRM is staying the same.

The make-up of policing in HRM is staying the same.

Halifax regional council voted to keep the integrated services of the Halifax Regional Police and the RCMP in a closed-door meeting yesterday.

Mayor Peter Kelly wouldn’t share the exact results of the in-camera vote, but indicated an “overwhelming majority” of councillors supported maintaining the status quo.

“(The issue) is one that is very divisive,” Kelly told reporters after the all-day meeting concluded. “(But) after careful consideration, council endorsed the status quo.”

Under the current system, the HRP services Halifax, Dartmouth and Bedford, while the RCMP patrol outlying areas such as Cole Harbour and Sackville.

A report from the Board of Police Commissioners, delivered to council Monday, suggested several different models for policing in HRM. These included expanding HRP service to Cole Harbour and Lower Sackville, expanding the RCMP service to the entire municipality, as well as maintaining the current integrated system.

The police commission recommended a fourth option — handing all policing duties in the municipality to the HRP. The report listed several advantages of this option, including financial savings, increased cohesion and the elimination of overhead.

But after two days of discussion, council decided to stick with the current integrated system.

Police Commission chair Russell Walker said “time will tell” if council’s decision will hurt the municipality.

“Council made a decision and they’re going with the status quo,” he said. “That’s council’s decision. They asked us to do a report and we did a report.”

Halifax RCMP Supt. Darrell Beaton said in a release late yesterday he was very pleased with the outcome from council.

“It has been a very lengthy and detailed exercise,” he said.

“I am ... very pleased to see HRM council’s continued support of the unique integrated policing model process, which brings together the best practices and people of both organizations to the benefit of the communities we serve.”

 
 
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