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BC Highway Patrol to no longer attend accidents in Delta, elsewhere

The BCHP says it continues to communicate and engage with the affected municipalities
As of Sept. 1, 2023, all traffic-related calls for service on provincial highways within municipal boundaries will be a municipal responsibility, including all fatal collisions. Sandor Gyarmati photo


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The Delta Police Department will be solely responsible for all traffic-related calls on the provincial highway network, including fatal collisions, as the BC Highway Patrol (BCHP) will realign its service delivery model.

Chief Neil Dubord at a recent Delta Police Board meeting talked about a few of the upcoming budget challenges facing his department including BCHP’s plan to alter the scope of service on provincial highways within municipalities.

Before further discussing the issues in-camera with the board, he noted the change means Delta Police will be fully responsible for 68-kilometres of provincial highway.

Starting Sept. 1, BCHP will no longer attend all traffic-related calls on provincial highways, such as erratic drivers and collisions, including fatal accidents, and instead focus on such proactive measures as impaired driving investigations.

The BCHP says traffic-related calls will be a municipal responsibility.

In addition to Delta, other communities that will be impacted include New Westminster, North Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey, Hope, the districts of Kent, Mission and North Vancouver, as well as the Fraser Valley Regional District, Township of Langley and Village of Harrison Hot Springs.

BC Highway Patrol Media Relations Officers Cpl. / Cap. Mike Moore, on behalf of C/Supt. Holly Turton, Officer in Charge, provided a statement to the Optimist that the BCHP mandate, provided in BC RCMP Provincial policy, is to decrease the number of serious injury and fatal collisions on provincial highways through proactive enforcement, education the building of partnerships and the interception of illegal contraband.

The mandate has been in place throughout the province and has remained unchanged for at least the last 30 years. The Police Act establishes the responsibility for municipalities with populations over 5,000 to provide policing and law enforcement services within their municipal boundaries.

That includes, but is not limited to, all traffic-related calls for service on provincial highways within municipal boundaries, according to the statement.

Also, according to BCHP, for at least the last 12 years, BCHP-Burnaby and BCHP-Chilliwack have been responding to traffic-related calls for service on the provincial highways in the Lower Mainland where the units operate.

“Based on the Police Act and the BCHP mandate, it is not clear how this non-BCHP mandate service delivery response model developed. This service delivery model has ultimately resulted in the operations of BCHP being misaligned with the Police Act and BCHP’s mandate. Specifically, BCHP-Burnaby and BCHP-Chilliwack are the only BCHP units in the Province that are currently responding for traffic-related calls for service on provincial highways,” the BCHP stated.

BCHP says it had had communicated with police departments over the past couple of years of the plan to seek approval from the province to realign service delivery for BCHP-Burnaby and BCHP-Chilliwack.

Earlier this year, that approval was granted, but it also required a communications and engagement strategy with stakeholders during a six-month period month period, in advance of the realignment of the service delivery model.

As far as the benefits of realignment, the BCHP explained, “While we recognize that impacted municipalities have concerns about this realignment, we believe that there will be some significant benefits realized through this process. This realignment will allow BCHP-Burnaby and BCHP-Chilliwack to focus on intelligence-led and strategic proactive traffic enforcement, consistent with our divisional mandate to reduce serious and fatal collisions. We anticipate an increased presence and the ability to focus our operations more effectively, will lead to a reduction in collisions and traffic-related calls for service occurring in your areas….”

The BCHP says it will still be available to assist police departments when it can, whether with a serious collision or responding to a priority call, if a highway patrol member is close by.