Vancouver Police Board News

Statement from Vancouver Police Board (Board) regarding the 2022 Vancouver Police
Department (VPD) Operating Budget submission to Vancouver City Council (Council)

November 25, 2021
Frank Chong, Finance Committee Chair:

While the Board awaits the outcome of the Section 27(3) Provincial Review of the VPD’s 2021 Operating Budget, it has been necessary to develop and approve the budget submission to Council for 2022.

For more information on the Board’s decision to request this review following a $5.7 million shortfall as a result of Council’s cut of the VPD’s 2021 operating budget, please read our statements from December 9, 2020 and March 9, 2021. This Provincial Government review is expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2022, and includes an examination of the financial management framework for the VPD, the budget cycle, and the impacts of the shortfall. The Board welcomes the opportunity for a comprehensive review of the VPD operating budget, and budget process.

As a Board comprised of Vancouver residents, we recognize that it is crucial to engage with City Council, while determining the appropriate amount for 2022. The Board has met with City Council twice to understand their priorities and concerns, and maintains an ongoing and open dialogue. Recognizing the financial constraints faced by the City, the Board has approved a proposed budget of $325,780,017 in order to maintain existing staffing and service levels, while taking contractual obligations and fixed costs into consideration. Further information relevant to Board’s budget submission to Council can be found here: 2022 VPD Operating Budget Report

The Board recognizes the financial challenges facing the City, resulting from the pandemic, complex social issues, housing problems, and the impacts from extreme weather. The totality of these circumstances have created competing priorities for the City, and immense financial pressures. The Board has determined that in order to minimize financial pressures on the City, it would delay the additional staffing numbers and additional investments in community policing. The Board will continue to exercise prudent financial oversight, and realize efficiencies through a variety of methods, including the civilianization of positions where possible, efficient patrol deployment, call triaging, tiered policing, partnerships, and volunteers.

Throughout the past year, discussions have continued locally and internationally, around social issues and the role of policing in the community. We acknowledge that mental health, addiction and homelessness issues need long-term and sustainable solutions. These solutions must come from a plan involving all levels of government, health authorities, police agencies, community organizations and the judicial justice system. Collectively, we must support our most vulnerable people and develop a road map to help address the systemic issues that continue to cause harm to this at-risk population.

Providing an adequate operational budget for the police department is necessary to the security, safety and social safety net of Vancouver. Policing involves many aspects, some that may not be as well-known, such as long-term partnerships with healthcare service providers to reduce harm and costs to the health and justice systems. Programs such the Assertive Outreach Program, Car 87, the HUB at St Paul’s Hospital, and Project Link have been invaluable to broader public safety. (VPD Report: Our Community in Need)

Policing also involves proactive community programs that help to support the fabric of our communities. Although the majority of policing services are aligned with frontline services and response to emergencies, the VPD provides non-core programs that proactively address upstream drivers of crime, such as our Community Policing Centers, youth resources, and diversity and inclusion roles that furthers relationships with Indigenous, vulnerable and traditionally underserved populations. As these partnerships and community outreach programs support the long-term success of the VPD in ensuring public safety, the Board is concerned that budget reductions would have a disproportionate negative impact on the VPD’s ability to maintain important non-core and proactive programs.

The Board continues its fiduciary responsibility in exercising the highest ‘duty of care’ for the safety of the people of Vancouver, the VPD and its employees. In the 2022 budget, while the Board has been reasonable, it must also be realistic in what is required to keep Vancouver as a safe and welcoming worldclass city. We have examined ways to address the important issues facing Vancouver, and how to move forward in a way that is collaborative and productive. The Board continues to be committed to working with the City of Vancouver on its priorities, goals, and objectives for policing while fulfilling our mandated role to ensure public safety.

Categories: Board Statements


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