Updated: Nov 19
September 20, 2021
This week the RCMP and the Westbank First Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding that allows the enforcement of Westbank First Nation Law on Westbank Lands by the RCMP.
The new collaboration may also permit the disclosure of personal information by the RCMP under the Privacy Act for the purpose of carrying out a lawful investigation to Westbank First Nation law
The agreement authorizes the RCMP to render services necessary for the enforcement of offenses established by Westbank Law where required for the effective and efficient delivery of policing services.
Here is a link to Westbank First Nations law.
The Memorandum of Understanding is the first of its kind in Canada.
Westbank First Nation Chief Christopher Derickson said "the 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."
The Chief says the agreement will help reduce crime on First Nation’s Land.
RCMP Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald said "this Memorandum of Understanding is a significant step in the partnership between the Westbank First Nation and the BC RCMP in recognizing indigenous law"
Westbank First Nation law enforcement officers will continue to enforce WFN laws. They are designated peace officers under WFN and the criminal code but they do not have the authority to arrest or detain. They do not carry firearms.
The local RCMP has three officers dedicated to First Nation policing, now they will assist in enforcing WFN laws.
The new agreement is effective immediately.
Westbank First Nation suspended its participation in the B.C. treaty process in 2009 and has been involved in discussions with the Province on land and resource issues outside the treaty process and is one of eight Okanagan Nation communities that has been self-governing since 2005.