Every few years this old chestnut appears – just like a zombie the idea of a County/Regional Police Service refuses to die.
The idea may succeed this time, the proponents – the people in short pants ( those Councillors with no or little experience of local politics) have proposed the idea; “Brighton Mayor Brian Ostrander made a motion to “approve a budget of $75,000 to retain a consultant to update the 2007 ‘Policing Study Final Report for Northumberland County’” Supported by the “short panters” the new Mayors of Cobourg and Port Hope.
The new Mayors of Port Hope and Cobourg may approach politics differently because of their relative youth and “new approach to politics” (some may call this lack of experience) but they will soon hit the reality of Regional Policing. That reality is that Police Service as we know it in the Suburbs is very different from the Rural Areas. The major difference is that Suburban policing cost more than the Rurals.
On one hand you have, usually a five minute response time to all calls, in the Towns, as opposed to “phone your call in and we may get to you in a couple of days” in the Rurals. The allure of cutting bureaucracy may be appealing to the new Mayors, obsessed with cost-cutting and efficiency but will that win over the the rural Councillors?
It could get very messy for Cobourg for as we know the CPS is heavily subsidised by the operation of the “Business Unit” will Cobourg be willing to subsidise the rest of the County with that income? Are there enough new Councillors in Port Hope to overcome the traditional aversion to any talk of amalgamation with Cobourg? After all these types of shared service talks have consistently failed over the years, even Hamilton Twp dumped the idea after a couple of years of sharing.
So we look forward to the revised report and the subsequent discussion. The report will have to come up with more than an updating of the numbers because those of us who remember the last report will recall that it wasn’t the numbers that killed it but the reduction of service in the Towns that would have taken place.