A Halifax police cruiser and a RCMP cruiser are parked on Citadel Hill. An HRP Officer stands in front of the Halifax police car while an RCMP officer stands in front of the RCMP cruiser.
Halifax-district RCMP and Halifax Regional Police together on Citadel Hill in a slide from a budget presentation to council last year. Credit: Contributed

Halifax is looking for a contractor to determine whether it should maintain its unique hybrid policing model.

The municipality is the only jurisdiction in Canada that uses both a municipal police force, Halifax Regional Police, and the RCMP. In April, Halifax regional council voted to launch a review of that model.

Coun. Tony Mancini brought the motion to council, seeking a “review of the current model of delivering policing services in Halifax Regional Municipality, to provide an evaluation of and make recommendations with respect to the effectiveness along with community safety standards of the current division of policing responsibilities in HRM between the Halifax Regional Police and the RCMP in their capacity as Nova Scotia Provincial Police.”

As the Halifax Examiner reported at the time, Mancini said it wasn’t an “anti-RCMP thing” and he wasn’t presupposing the outcome, but he felt it was time to reconsider the 25-year-old arrangement.

On Friday, the municipality issued a request for proposals to conduct the review. Bidders have to prequalify through one of two requests for qualifications. Four of them already did, responding to a request in July: MNP, Davis Pier, Deloitte, and Canadian Municipal Network.

The new request for proposals contains the details of the review:

Halifax has a unique police model, with both its own municipal police, Halifax Regional Police (HRP) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The Municipality requires expertise in the development of a Police Service Study that will evaluate the current dual model of policing in HRM to create recommendations that will improve the quality and effectiveness of police service, standards, and delivery in the municipality and better integrate policing with the broader community safety and wellbeing ecosystem.

The objective of the Study is to provide Halifax Regional Council and the Board of Halifax Police Commissioners, with a clear evaluation of the current policing model in HRM, the most appropriate future model, and a road map to achieve that future state. It will:

  1. Establish a vision and core values for future of policing in HRM
  2. Evaluate the current state of policing services in HRM against established vision and principles;
  3. Define the desired model for policing in HRM
  4. Create an implementation roadmap, including a timeline for the transition to the new policing model; and
  5. Create a framework to evaluate the implementation of the desired model.

Proposals are due January 7. There’s no timeline attached for the report.

Chief administrative officer Jacques Dubé told councillors in April that the review would likely cost around $200,000.

The review comes at a time when the RCMP is still facing scrutiny for its handling of the Portapique mass shootings, and when the cost of its services is expected to climb due to the Mounties’ new collective agreement. The Halifax-district RCMP budget is expected to rise $2.9 million in 2022-2023, about 10%.

During a Board of Police Commissioners meeting on Monday, outgoing Halifax-district RCMP Chief Supt. Janis Gray teared up as she decried “cancel culture” and what she sees as “unwarranted and unfair criticism” of police.

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Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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