Vancouver Police Pull Funding
Request After Protests
After growing public backlash, the
Vancouver Police Department withdrew their request for $1.2 million to
continue their intensified enforcement in the Downtown Eastside.
Police officials pulled their budgeting
request after human rights and local resident groups charged the police
were using excessive force and targeting innocent people for scrutiny.
“Growing criticism of the crackdown has
also come from residents of neighboring areas, such as the West End, Mount Pleasant and Commercial Drive, who claim drug related crime has
increased in their communities as a result of the strategy dispersing
the Downtown Eastside drug scene” said Vancouver COPE Mayor Larry
Eastside initiative, which began on April 7, was developed by the VPD
in response to the Four Pillars Drug Strategy prevention, treatment,
harm reduction and enforcement. Downtown Eastside residents have both
praised and criticized the VPD's enforcement strategy.
is also chair of the police board, reaffirmed the COPE council's June
10 decision to “put the funding request on hold, until a complete and
independent report on the impact of the crackdown comes back to city
council in November.”
The Vancouver Police Department, Vancouver
Coastal Health Authority and other independent researchers are
undertaking to evaluate the police initiative in the Downtown Eastside
and its health impacts. The full impact report coming to city council
this fall will review the completed evaluations and report back on the
crackdown strategy's effect on other neighborhoods.
The VPD had originally asked city council
for $2.3 million in March for the strategy, but was rejected by the
According to the city's Director of
Financial Planning Ken Bayne, the annual budget for the VPD, like all
other city services, is ultimately the responsibility of the city, even
though Police Chief Jamie Graham has the final say on all department
expenditures and operational matters.
In order to
meet VPD initiated objectives like the Downtown Eastside, initiative,
the police chief can choose to run a deficit with or without city
council approval, or he can reduce services in other areas of policing.