Port Metro Vancouver cuts funding to police unit

WATCH: Port Metro Vancouver has decided it won't fund a high-level police unit anymore. But as John Daly reports, critics argue that will compromise our safety.

Port Metro Vancouver has decided it will no longer fund a high-level police unit that investigates federal offences at Canada’s largest container port.

Ports from Delta to Vancouver are policed by the 13-member National Port Enforcement Team (NPET). For 15 years, Port Metro Vancouver has contributed funds to NPET, but that is set to end in the new year.

“The activities, of course, are policing and that is not the responsibility of Port Metro Vancouver,” said Peter Xotta, the port’s vice president of planning and operations. “Ours is trade and securing the trade activity through the port.

“The decision that we’ve made at this time is to shift that resource to those things that we think are more closely aligned to our mandate and contribute to the overall policing effort in the port’s jurisdiction.”

With a $400,000 cut in funding as of January 1, four of the 13 NPET officers will be gone.

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“We’re going to be cutting the port enforcement, we’re going to be cutting the police who are looking out for guns, looking out for gangs, looking out for contraband, and looking out for terrorism. Having that unit cut is just unconscionable,” said Kathy Corrigan, MLA for Burnaby-Deer Lake.

Sources tell Global News that one Delta officer, one VPD officer, and two members of the RCMP are being cut from the team.

“The policing activity is the responsibility of other jurisdictions,” said Xotta. “We’ll work closely with them, but the funding associated with their programs–what the scale of it is, what’s required–is something you’ll have to ask them about.”

“I’d like to know where Christy Clark and Suzanne Anton are in standing up for British Columbians and helping to keep them safe,” said Corrigan.

Declining an interview on the issue of port policing, B.C.’s Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said via email:

“We anticipate the federal team will continue to provide appropriate policing services to maintain security for B.C.”

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-With files from John Daly