There are 11 municipal police departments in British Columbia serving the following communities: Abbotsford, Delta, Central Saanich, Nelson, New Westminster, Oak Bay, Port Moody, Saanich, Vancouver, Victoria-Esquimalt and West Vancouver.
The BC Police Act requires each municipal police department to have a board consisting of the mayor of the council who acts as board chair (the mayor of council for both Victoria and Esquimalt act as board co-chairs), one person appointed by the municipal council (both Victoria and Esquimalt each appoint a representative) and not more than seven persons who are appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
In addition there is one designated policing unit, South Coast BC Transportation Authority Police Service whose police board is appointed by the Responsible Minister under the Police Act in which one of these members must be designated Chair by the Minister, and one First Nations force, Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Services, whose board is appointed by individual band councils, not by the Responsible Minister under the Police Act.
Each police board is mandated to establish and operate a police department in their municipality. The police department is responsible for enforcing municipal bylaws, provincial laws, federal criminal code laws, maintaining order and preventing crime. The police board, in consultation with the Chief Constable, sets the priorities, goals and objectives of its police department and develops the annual police department budget. The police board is the Employer and responsible for service and policy complaints related to its police department. It also receives complaints against the Chief and Deputy Chief Constables. The board strives for a fair and responsive interaction between police and the community.
The BC Association of Police Boards works in collaboration with policing stakeholders to provide a focused approach to provincial police governance.