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Vancouver Police Board appealing city council's decision to cut 2021 operating budget

A member of the Vancouver Police Department wears a chest mounted camera in downtown Vancouver on Oct. 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

Vancouver Police Board is appealing city council's decision to cut the VPD's 2021 requested operating budget

The board claims slashing nearly $6 million will negatively impact public safety

It is asking for a director's review and says council's decision undermines the board’s independent governance role

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — City council’s decision to slash the Vancouver Police Department’s requested 2021 budget is set to be appealed.

The Police Board is asking for a director’s review, claiming cutting nearly $6 million from the budget will have a negative impact on public safety, the public’s confidence in policing, and member wellness.

In a statement Tuesday, the board says the budget that was brought to council late last year, balanced concerning public safety while considering the financial impact from the ongoing pandemic.

“In order to support the City’s financial challenges, the board opted to delay year four of the five-year board and council approved staffing plan under the Operational Review by not including in its budget the 20 sworn and 10 civilian positions that were slated to be filled in 2021, in addition to existing 2020 staffing levels,” the release reads.

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According to the board, the $5.7 million cut fails to account for the board’s legal obligations and inflationary increases. It adds the decision was made without analysis or risk assessment to public safety.

Among other issues, the board says the decision will result in hiring delays at the police department.

“The VPD must mitigate this shortfall through hiring delays. As $5.7 million is the monetary equivalent of 61 new recruits, the department will effectively fall 61 officers below current staffing levels as members leave and retire,” the statement continues.

“This will bring staffing levels below those of 2009, resulting in negative impacts to police response, proactive policing initiatives and community-based programs, diversity through hiring, and the health and wellbeing of our members.”

The board adds the budget cut undermines the Board’s role as an independent governance.