Skip to content

By the numbers: How do Langley City, Township stack up on shared policing?

The City has a higher rate of violent crime, but also pays for more Mounties per resident
Supt. Adrian Marsden, head of the Langley RCMP, speaking at the newest CPO on Wednesday, March 1. (Langley Advance Times files)

The argument for splitting the Langley RCMP detachment into two comes down to whether the City or Township is paying more, and which is using more policing resources.

The joint City-Township RCMP detachment provides funding for 210 officers, as well as paying for the detachment headquarters, police vehicles, and other RCMP equipment.

The split proposed by the Township would divide all of that, and force Langley City to build or locate its own detachment HQ.

But how do the two communities stack up when it comes to population, crime, and policing costs now?

Langley City, in a press release issued after the Township announced its split, pointed to the first issue with determining who’s paying for what – there aren’t actually 210 RCMP officers in Langley.

Under the City-Township policing contract, there is a floor of 179 officers paid for through a cost-sharing formula. Above that level, either municipality can pay for more officers, but bears the full cost of hiring them.

According to the City, there were on average 173 RCMP officers in the detachment in 2022. That’s because of RCMP shortages across the country – officers retiring, on medical leave, or on maternal or paternal leave aren’t being replaced by newly trained officers.

The City says that it paid for its full complement of officers, while the Township didn’t have to pay for 37 vacant positions.

When it comes to crime, Langley City has fewer incidents than Langley Township does, but it has more per person.

Langley City has a population of about 29,000 people, and the Township estimates it has 145,000 people.

In February, Supt. Adrian Marsden, officer in charge of the Langley RCMP, shared recent statistics with the Township council.

In the three months from Nov. 2022 to Jan. 2023, there had been a total of 463 violent crimes, or crimes against persons, in Langley. Of those, 135, or 29.1 per cent, were in Langley City, and 328, or 70.8 per cent, had taken place in the Township.

Those crimes ranged from assault to harassment, to sex offences, to robbery, arson, and that quarter’s lone murder in Langley.

READ MORE: Langley RCMP head outlines plans to Township council

Although almost 30 per cent of the incidents happened in Langley City, the City has just 16.6 per cent of the population of the combined Langley area.

The fact that Langley City, more urbanized and with proportionally larger commercial areas and a homeless population, draws more RCMP resources is a major reason Township Mayor Eric Woodward and others on council have cited for splitting the detachment.

Although Langley City has a larger share of crime than its larger neighbour, it also pays for a larger share of the police per capita.

With 16.6 per cent of the total population, the City pays for about a quarter of the total number of RCMP officers on the payroll of the shared detachment.

If the City were to pay based purely on population, 16.6 per cent of the Langley RCMP’s strength would be about 34.86 officers.

READ MORE: Langley City, Township will have to plan RCMP split, says Solicitor General

Although much of the argument for dividing the force from the Township’s side has been that the City isn’t pulling its weight, having not added many officers in the last several years, the City could have significantly more Mounties per capita than the Township after a split.

At present, the Township is funding 0.1 officers per resident, based on a population of 145,000 residents. The Township funds 158.65 RCMP members.

The City funds 0.18 officers per resident, based on its population of 29,000 people. The City currently funds 54.5 full-time equivalent officers, according to its most recent budget.

In large part, those ratios are due to the Township’s explosive growth over the past 15 years. Langley Township’s population only passed the 100,000 mark officially in the 2006 Canadian Census, when 103,000 people called the Township home. It was at least 132,000 in the 2021 Census, and the municipality estimates another 13,000 people have arrived since then.

Meanwhile, Langley City’s population has risen from 23,600 in 2006 to just under 29,000 in 2021.

In other words, the Township has expanded by more than 40,000 people since 2006, while the City has expanded by about 5,400.

It’s unclear exactly how the officers of the detachment would be split up between the City and Township as the de-integration goes forward.

Langley Township in this year’s budget committed to increasing its complement of officers by 10 over the next several years. The City did not increase its number of officers.

Have a story tip? Email:
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
Read more