Letters: Richmond mayor responds to former police chief’s money laundering testimony

Richmond News

Dear Editor,

Re: “‘Monster is growing’ police warn in 2004; Former Richmond RCMP head warned city hall about River Rock Casino,” News, Oct. 29.

In 2007, the Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of Richmond RCMP submitted a proposal to council to add two illegal gaming constables to address casino crime. Council approved those two officers and an additional 10 plus a crime analyst. Four were funded directly from casino proceeds. The other eight, the crime analyst and a further three officers in 2008 were supported by property tax funding.

Under the Municipal Policing Unit Agreement, the OIC exercises complete discretion in deploying operational resources. Decisions to deploy police resources to combat organized crime or otherwise are solely determined by the OIC. If extra strength is required to maintain essential public safety, the RCMP can decide to deploy more officers. That cost is borne by the city.

Between 2003 and 2013, we saw the introduction of the River Rock Casino, the Canada Line and overall population growth in the city. Statistics Canada indicates the incidence of serious, violent and non-violent crimes in Richmond in that period declined between 39 and 47 per cent.

Over the past decade, the city has taken numerous steps to combat organized crime and money laundering. The acceptance of cash payments for taxes has been eliminated; we worked with BC Lotteries and RCMP to combat the exploitation of bank drafts to launder money; and funded 59 new police officers. We advocated for governments to increase resources to stem illegal gaming while developing a comprehensive plan to combat organized crime. Richmond has also pushed for disclosure of the ownership of land and corporations.

Richmond has been proactive because it is challenging to address organized crime, illegal gaming and money laundering. Richmond City Council and Richmond RCMP are committed to improving public safety as the foundation of a safe and resilient city.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie

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