Vancouver Won’t Increase Police Budget, but Balks at Defunding

Vancouver city council voted to keep the police budget at the same level as 2020, rejecting a proposed increase of $6.4 million made by the police board.

City staff had recommended a one-per-cent cut to the police budget to offset revenue losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the police board had rejected that call, saying public safety would be threatened. The police budget takes up 20 per cent of the entire city budget.

The budget will remain at the 2020 level of $340,601,336.

The decision means the police department will be unable to go ahead with plans to add 61 new police officers to the force, police Chief Adam Palmer said in a statement. VPD has more than 1,300 officers.

The vote reflects tensions between the police department and city council. In the wake of several high-profile deaths across Canada during police “wellness checks” this spring, and Black Lives Matter protests that swept across North America, council passed motions this summer to end street checks and decriminalize poverty.

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