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

Sooke School District promises learning opportunites for students by mid-April

‘No intent to replicate regular school day virtually’ SD62 says

VIDEO: Musician stays physically distant in courtyard show for Langford retirees

Bob Nelson found a way to continue to play for retirement community residents

COVID-19: Health care workers seek alternative housing options to prevent families from getting sick

Volunteers, residents and businesses step up to provide frontline workers with alternative housing

BC Parks Foundation organizes virtual picnic for the province

Join a B.C.-wide picnic online Saturday, March 28

Victoria Police see new trends in calls due to COVID-19

Police link jump in domestic, mental health calls to pandemic

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help locating 17-year-old girl believed to be with 36-year-old man

Mary Cyprich, missing since Thurday, might be in company of Force Forsythe

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Most Read