British Columbia Police Association (BCPA) launched in Vancouver



    VANCOUVER, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - Starting today, a new province-wide
organization will provide a united voice for front-line municipal policing in
British Columbia.
    The 2,500-member British Columbia Police Association (BCPA) is being
launched today in Vancouver. It is made up of the members of the province's 11
municipal police services as well as members of the South Coast BC Transit
Association Police Services.
    Members of the RCMP serving in B.C. will be welcome as non-voting
associate members of the BCPA during the time they serve in the province.
    "We will provide a united voice on issues of concern to our members
across the province," says Tom Stamatakis, President of the Vancouver Police
Union (VPU), who was named as the first President of the BCPA.
    While member police associations of the BCPA will continue to negotiate
their contracts individually with the municipalities they serve, the BCPA will
allow them to more easily share information and improve bargaining positions.
    "Our province is vast, and while policing in a major city like Vancouver
is different in some ways than in a smaller municipality, our shared
experiences, concerns and issues outweigh our differences," notes Stamatakis,
who will retain his position as President of the VPU while assuming leadership
of the BCPA.

    The main aim of the BCPA is to encourage improvements in the working
conditions, equipment, training and compensation of its members, and, by so
doing, improve policing service to the public in B.C.'s municipalities. Its
motto and mission statement is, "To Protect Those Who Protect Others."


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    
                     Notes for remarks by Tom Stamatakis
               President, British Columbia Police Association

                             September 25th, 2008

                           Check Against Delivery
    

    Honoured guests, colleagues, members of the news media…

    Welcome to the launch of the British Columbia Police Association.

    My name is Tom Stamatakis, and I'm proud to serve as the first President
of our new Association.

    Starting today, this new, province-wide organization will provide a
united voice for front-line municipal policing in British Columbia.

    Our 2,500-member B.C. Police Association is made up the members of the
province's 11 municipal police services and the members of the South Coast BC
Transit police.

    I would also like our colleagues serving in the RCMP in this province to
know that they will be welcome as non-voting associate members of the BCPA
during the time they serve in British Columbia.

    The British Columbia Police Association will provide a united voice on
issues of concern and interest to our members all across British Columbia.

    We have formed the B.C. Police Association because we believe that there
is strength in unity: and we believe that unity is important, particularly in
the times in which we live and work.

    The police profession faces many challenges: economic, political and
social challenges, some of which didn't exist or weren't as difficult a few
years ago.

    The formation of the BC Police Association is, in part, a response to
those challenges.

    Our main aim is to encourage improvements in the working conditions,
equipment, training and compensation of our members, and, by so doing, improve
policing service and public safety.

    While our member police associations will continue to negotiate their
contracts individually with the municipalities they serve, the BCPA will
facilitate information sharing and improve bargaining positions.

    We have another purpose in uniting, too: We recognize, just as many other
groups and organizations recognize, that we need to make our case effectively
in the public forum, to tell the positive stories about the work of our
members in B.C., and to advocate for our members.

    That's what we will be doing. Our advocacy role is reflected in our motto
and our mission statement which is, "To Protect Those Who Protect Others".

    Our goal is to strengthen the solid relationships that many of our
members already have with the public, with local municipalities, with the
provincial government and with all members of the legislature.

    We will also advocate for positive change on behalf of our members on
matters of legislation, governance and civilian oversight of policing.

    Here are examples of three issues in which the B.C. Police Association
will make its voice heard:

    One: we will be making our constructive views known on the ongoing Police
Act Review being carried out by the province.

    We support a number of the recommendations for changes in the Police Act,
and we look forward to the eventual introduction of the new legislation.

    Two: We want to see harmonization of the rules and regulations governing
civilian oversight of policing.

    For historical reasons, members of the RCMP, carrying out their
provincial policing function, are subject to different oversight rules than
those of us serving municipal police forces.

    We believe harmonization will be better, and fairer, for both the public
and police officers.

    And Three: We need to examine the effectiveness of integrated policing
units from both an economic and a social perspective.

    Integrated policing, in which officers from different jurisdictions
combine their investigative and policing skills, should be reviewed on a
case-by-case basis.

    This will ensure that communities taking part are getting full value for
their tax dollar and that our members who work in these units are doing so
under appropriate conditions.

    In closing, let me note that while our province is vast, and policing in
our larger cities is different in some ways than in our smaller
municipalities, our shared experiences, concerns and issues as police officers
outweigh our differences.

    That's why we are launching the British Columbia Police Association. I
look forward to your questions.





For further information:

For further information: Tom Stamatakis, (604) 312-7737

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BRITISH COLUMBIA POLICE ASSOCIATION

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