Advertisement

B.C. government rules $5.7M must be returned to Vancouver police budget

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Police Board appeal has added $5.7 million to their budget'
Vancouver Police Board appeal has added $5.7 million to their budget
Vancouver city hall is on the hook for $5.7 million of the VPD's budget after it was chopped from the original budget. The city will have to come up with the cash. But it likely won't cause too many issues as the annual VPD budget is around $300 million. Ted Chernecki reports – Mar 15, 2022

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says the next city council will need to decide how to offset the nearly $6 million it must restore to the police department with a hike in property taxes.

Speaking the day after a ruling from B.C.’s director of police services, Stewart told a news conference that he’s glad the city can move on, after council voted to cut millions in police funding in its 2021 budget.

The decision had been due to the early financial pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said Tuesday, “which was quite a dark time where all departments were asked to do more with less money,” and maintained that police had access to the money all along.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver residents speak out about safety concerns at Public Forum'
Vancouver residents speak out about safety concerns at Public Forum

Read more: ‘This should be the jewel of Vancouver’: Gastown store’s windows broken 7 times in 3 months

Story continues below advertisement

He added the $5.7 million that’s been ordered to be restored is equivalent to about a 0.6-per-cent increase in property taxes, to be debated by the next council elected in the fall.

In a statement late Monday, Chief Const. Adam Palmer said he’s confident a fully funded police department can continue to protect and serve the community.

“Vancouver has been gripped by an abundance of public safety challenges, including the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict, a surge in violent street crime, nearly 1,000 protests, concerning levels of hate crime, and a growing number of people who tell us they just don’t feel as safe as they used to,” Palmer said.

Click to play video: 'Gastown business owners continue to battle break-ins and broken glass'
Gastown business owners continue to battle break-ins and broken glass

The VPD had warned that the budget cut would lead to 60 new recruits not being hired and a reduction of police services, which led to the police board filing an appeal.

Story continues below advertisement

Last month, Palmer told the Vancouver Police Board that incidents of windows being broken were up 40 per cent since 2019.

In the downtown core, commercial break and enters with broken glass have increased 24 per cent since 2021.

According to police statistics, an average of four people are the victims of random, groundless attacks by unknown suspects in the city each day, and that’s not including barfights, robberies, incidents of road rage or other assaults where the individuals know each other.

– with a file from Safeeya Pirani

Click to play video: 'B.C. government says $5.7M must be restored to Vancouver police'
B.C. government says $5.7M must be restored to Vancouver police

Sponsored content