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Cumberland municipal council has accepted the recommendation of its Policing Services Options Review Committee to proceed with the RCMP as the preferred proponent for policing services within the Municipality of Cumberland.

 Council voted to accept the recommendation during its June regular meeting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023.

The municipality issued a request for proposals at a special meeting on April 11 and received three responses - the RCMP, the Amherst Police Department and Prof. Stephen Schneider.

The Policing Services Options Review Committee met on June 22 to evaluate the responses and prepare a recommendation to council regarding a police services provider.

“The committee and council are adamant that the status quo is not what we want and what the citizens deserve,” Municipality of Cumberland Mayor Murray Scott said. “We will pursue a better deal for the citizens of Cumberland County when it comes to the provision of policing services.”

The RCMP proposal includes several options which will have to be explored, discussed and costed. The proposal does however include an option to continue providing the same service for the same financial considerations as are currently in place.

There was general agreement at the committee that the status quo is not adequately addressing the needs of the municipality and that improving policing service will take engagement with the RCMP and the Department of Justice at the highest level.

Council’s motion from Wednesday authorizes the mayor and CAO to enter into negotiations with the Department of Justice and the RCMP for improvements to the service, based on feedback provided by last summer’s public participation sessions facilitated by Narrative Research.

“We heard a lot from people who participated in the sessions with Narrative Research and we have to carry that message forward to the RCMP and the Department of Justice to say this is what the citizens want and what we need in Cumberland County,” the mayor said. “I believe there’s a tremendous opportunity here to create a stronger partnership with those two organizations to provide a better service.”

Wednesday’s decision is a significant milestone in a process that began more than a year ago when the municipality struck a review committee that included four councillors, the mayor, four citizens and the CAO as well as a representative from the Department of Justice.