Service or Policy Complaints

Service or Policy Complaints are valuable in assisting the Vancouver Police Board (the Board) in identifying potential gaps in process and policy, and for holding both the Board and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) publicly accountable to the matters outlined below.

As set out in s.168 of the Police Act, Service or Policy Complaints are complaints about the general direction, management and operation of a police department, or about the inadequacy or inappropriateness of the police department’s:

  1. staffing or resource allocation
  2. training programs or resources
  3. standing orders or policies
  4. ability to respond to requests for assistance
  5. internal procedures

Although the Board shares the public’s concerns that officers carry out their duties in a professional manner, it is important to understand that the Board does not have authority to oversee complaints about the actions or inaction of individual police officers (these are called Conduct Complaints). Conduct Complaints are under the oversight of the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC), not the Board. You can find more information about conduct complaints from the OPCC’s website.

The ability for a person to make a complaint about a municipal police department is set out in the Police Act.

If you have a complaint about the services or policies of the Vancouver Police Department, please submit it directly to the Board or to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC).

Submit a Complaint to the Board

If you have any questions about the process of making a service or policy complaint, please contact the Board office at: office@vancouverpoliceboard.ca.

The Board follows the provisions set out in the Police Act when processing Service or Policy Complaints. These complaints are reviewed by the Service or Policy Complaint Review Standing Committee, which is made up of all directors of the Board. In November 2021, the Board established a Service or Policy Subcommittee to review each complaint upon receipt for a recommended action to the full Committee. This allows for a more timely response to complainants.

The Standing Committee may take any action that they think is necessary in order to respond to a complaint, including asking the Chief Constable or an outside body to investigate. Once the Standing Committee has the response to any questions, queries or the results of an investigation, they decide on the response to the complaint.

The Standing Committee meets in public, except for when it discusses private matters under s.69.2 of the Police Act (broadly, public security where public disclosure could impair law enforcement, individuals’ financial or personal affairs, or labour issues).

The Terms of Reference for the Committee were last revised in November 2021, to reflect the establishment of the Subcommittee. The Standing Committee meets, as required, to respond to complaints. Standing Committee agendas, reports and minutes are published on the Board Meetings page.

One of the options that the Board has under the Police Act in processing Service or Policy Complaints is to request the Chief Constable to investigate and report back. Below are some of the report-backs from the VPD to the Board, that have come forward publicly for the Board’s consideration. These reports contain extensive information with respect to the topics of previous Service or Policy Complaints. For all of the Service or Policy Complaint report-backs, minutes with the Board’s decisions, and a live stream of when the complaints were considered, please click “More Info” below.

More Info