Steve Hurcombe (left), VicPD control, Chief Const. Del Manak, and Police Board member Sean Powell presented the proposed 2020 police budget to city councillors. (Screenshot/City of Victoria)

Victoria Police Department requests $2.5 million increase for 2020 budget

VicPD answers council questions about requested cost expenditures

The Victoria Police Department is requesting a 4.43 per cent increase for its 2020 budget, bringing its grand total up to $58,241, 090.

In a budgetary council meeting on Thursday morning, Victoria Police Chief Const. Del Manak, Police Board member Sean Powell and Victoria Police controller Steve Hurcombe explained their reasoning behind the $2.5 million increase request.

The majority of these costs will go to the full-year salary for six additional police officers hired in 2019, an increase to its capital funding to bring it back to its 2018 levels, wage inflation, retirement payouts, the cost for a pilot project on hiring special municipal constables and increased funding for employee health and wellness initiatives.

ALSO READ: Six new police officers add $300,000 to Victoria’s 2019 budget

Manak added that certain steps had been taken to save costs, including pooling portable radios to save $75,000 per year, having volunteers and reserve police perform more than 20,000 hours of work, and gathering provincial paybacks on a case-by-case basis for overtime and resources used on larger criminal investigations.

Some items which had been requested and denied in 2019 and were not renewed on the 2020 budget included a cyber crimes sergeant, a research analyst and Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) officers.

“We agonized over the tough decisions we have to make, and endeavor to meet your financial expectations,” Powell said. “Part of that agonization is knowing that this budget we bring forward today … it doesn’t allow the ability to continue being innovative, it doesn’t reduce wait times, it doesn’t do a lot of things.”

Councillors were interested in the 2020 hiring for four special municipal constables, who would be unarmed civilians aiding in low-risk, lower-training police duties.

ALSO READ: VicPD budget request sparks debate on role of police in mental health, addiction calls

These duties might include jail operations, traffic control, subpoena services, court liaison services, front desk duties, logistics assistance, public complaints, data entry of files, guarding low-risk apprehensions at hospitals, following up with businesses for the recovery of surveillance video, locating next of kin and working at special events.

After asking many additional questions about police procedures, councillors put forward two motions.

Coun. Ben Isitt, who expressed frustration about the police department receiving the highest portion of the city’s budget, put forward a motion for council to write to the province to further consider a more sustainable, regional police force.

ALSO READ: Victoria agrees to fund Canada Day, special event policing – calls on feds to cover military events

“Fiscally, council is reluctant or unwilling to fund requests that VicPD thinks is necessary, so rather than an internal discussion we should be bringing the province into the conversation, since ultimately policing is a provincial issue,” Isitt said.

Coun. Jeremy Loveday also put forward a motion to ask staff to report back on the implication of bringing back the special events policing budget back into the police budget, not to the city’s.

Both motions passed unanimously, and further details of the police budget will be further discussed in the upcoming months.

nicole.cresenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

Attendees of all ages carried instruments, posters with empowering messages

Victoria resident lives well despite dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

New Oak Bay bylaw supports planting 5,000 new trees

Residents can share thoughts on new tree protection bylaw at Jan. 29 open house

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Most Read