Westbank First Nation (WFN) and the BC RCMP signed a first-of-its-kind agreement on Monday (Sept. 20) that permits the enforcement of Westbank law on Westbank lands.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by WFN Chief Christopher Derickson and RCMP deputy commissioner Dwayne McDonald, who’s also BC RCMP’s commanding officer. WFN councillors signed off on the agreement, rendering the policing services effective immediately.
“WFN is proud to be signing this MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the RCMP. It is the first of its kind in Canada,” said Derickson.
“WFN has always had a positive relationship with local RCMP and this MOU is an expression of this relationship and the trust built between the RCMP and WFN. This is another valuable tool to help reduce crime on First Nations Land.”
While RCMP can enforce provincial and federal laws on Westbank lands, WFN has three law enforcement officers of their own who enforce laws that apply to WFN lands. Those officers, however, cannot enforce provincial or federal laws on WFN lands.
According to RCMP, the recently signed agreement may also permit the disclosure of personal information by the RCMP under the Privacy Act, for the purpose of carrying out a lawful investigation.
Under the WFN’s self-government act and self-government agreement, WFN can authorize the RCMP to render services necessary for enforcement of offences established by Westbank law where required.
McDonald said that the agreement is a significant step in the partnership between WFN and BC RCMP in recognizing Indigenous law.
“By expanding the services that the RCMP provides, we are able to increase our engagement opportunities which will help build positive relationships and contribute to community safety,” said McDonald.