Politics to blame in Pickton murders
There were "colossal" mistakes made by police in the Robert Pickton case, but politics was also to blame for missed opportunities that might have snared the serial killer much sooner.
The accusation is contained in a key recommendation by Missing Women Inquiry commissioner Wally Oppal as he stressed the need for a regional police force in Metro Vancouver.
It's the only major centre in Canada without a regional force, the report notes.
While the debate over a regional force is decades old, Oppal urges political leaders to quickly implement a plan for a Greater Vancouver police force.
"Let's not wait for the next Robert Pickton to strike," Oppal's report said.
The report concluded the "fragmentation" of policing in Metro Vancouver contributed to the failure of police to catch the killer much sooner.
"It is clear from the evidence that a regional police force stood a good chance of apprehending Robert Pickton much earlier," the report said.
But the political debate over a unified police force in the Vancouver region has been simmering on a backburner for a long time and Oppal said in his report that it has nothing to do with policing.
"I underscore that the barriers to a regional police force for Greater Vancouver are political," he concluded.
B.C. Attorney General Shirley Bond did little to clear up the situation Monday while speaking with the media.
"We're in the process of discussing a 10-year policing plan for British Columbia. I think the concept of what that model might look like deserves further discussion," she said, while refusing to say which model her government would prefer.
"I've always been willing to sit down with mayors in the Vancouver area to talk about that."
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson said he is supportive of the regional-force approach and believes it's crucial to improving public safety and policing.
Cities in B.C. that are policed by the RCMP just recently signed a 20-year agreement. However there is a two-year option to get out of the agreement.
RCMP Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens said the report's recommendations will need to be reviewed and considered and he said his department will work with the attorney general and policing partners to "move forward."
Pickton was convicted of killing six women, but the remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his farm.
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