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

budgetCity of VictoriaVicPDVictoria Police Department

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

Just Posted

Royal Athletic Park will not be a shelter site during COVID-19 crisis: Victoria mayor

Indoor sites to be coordinated with Island Health, BC Housing

BC Ferries further reduces sailings in response to COVID-19

Any sailing reservations cancelled due to schedule changes will be refunded

COVID-19: Saanich company joins nation-wide effort to produce 30,000 ventilators

StarFish Medical using a ‘purpose-driven design for rapid manufacturing,’ CEO says

Judge rejects pandemic as reason to grant bail to immunocompromised prisoner

Esquimalt man told there are more health risks for addicts on the street than there are in jail

Canoe found in men’s public bathroom in Cadboro-Gyro Park

‘Please do not park your canoe in our bathrooms,’ say Saanich parks staff

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

Thieves steal $5,000 worth of cigarettes and candy from semi trailer in Nanaimo

Culprits hit truckload in shipping company storage yard on Old Victoria Road on Monday

Most Read