Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise.
A man who worked with the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Police Department for years says those documents should’ve been more clear.
Jeff Simpson, who worked with the public about his concerns about police, says he recently got a letter saying that security hired to prevent the spread of camps would leave the camps alone.
“If I was writing it I wouldn’t have said that,” said Simpson.
In May, council approved a $1.5 million contract for security to prevent campers from camping in public spaces, including City Beach, at Queen Street and W. Hastings Street.
The police documents show Simpson’s concerns were addressed.
“After receiving your comments, the City has taken the following action: City staff have recommended changes in the language in these documents, including the removal of language regarding a ‘call-out’ (a requirement that police presence be considered a police ‘call’; and) City staff have also recommended changes in the procedures outlined in these policies, such as removing language that would indicate that police presence was a ‘precaution’; and ‘call-out’ language added back to the policy statement on public safety/dispatch,” reads the letter.
As a result, the City is not making any arrests or issuing criminal charges, said the letter.
Simpson says he wasn’t asked to write letters to council. He does believe there should be a lot more clarity in the public policies.
Simpson says there are some changes that were made and could’ve been made sooner, including:
• No mention of police presence as a police “call”
• Not mentioning police presence as a “precaution”
• Including the police in a report about public use of public space
The City issued a statement saying the documents are part of the annual audit.
“The City of Vancouver administers a variety of programs and services, and an agency policy requires that each agency provide a