Members of the Victoria Police Department close a street during a rally for Black lives on June 7. Thousands of residents attended the peaceful event, spilling out of Victoria’s Centennial Square onto surrounding roads. (Black Press Media file photo)

Police board offers letter of support to VicPD amid ‘defund the police’ movement

Co-chaired by Victoria, Esquimalt mayors, board acknowledges ‘additional challenges’ created by movement

The Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board expressed its support for the Victoria Police Department amid calls to defund the police – which it noted has added “additional challenges” to the daily work of the department.

The board, which is made up of seven members including Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins, issued a letter to the police department on Sept. 9, writing that demands for police leadership in the community have grown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a trying time and one where we are all trying to do the best we can,” the board writes. “We are immensely proud of the service you have been able to offer our communities.”

The board then writes that movements such as “defund the police” have added “multiple levels of additional challenges to your daily work” and should spark conversations but not discredit the work of the force.

READ ALSO: When protesters cry ‘defund the police,’ what does it mean?

“The Victoria Police Department is a leader in policing and operates with integrity,” the board writes. “The heart that each of you bring is noticed and is what makes VicPD a community leader.”

In June, the police board requested a racial and gender analysis of the Victoria police department to determine the number of Black, Indigenous and other people of colour on the force in comparison to the city’s general population. According to VicPD, that information would provide a baseline for focused recruiting.

Calls to defund police forces came after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black North Americans. More recently, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Many in support of the defund the police movement say it is rooted in the need to address systemic racism in policing and reallocate police funding for things like housing and community supports.

Thousands attended a rally for Black lives on June 7 in Victoria’s Centennial Square. In August, the City of Victoria asked for the removal of the acronym A.C.A.B. – which stands for All Cops are Bastards – from a mural painted in Bastion Square by artists of colour. The mural was sponsored by the City of Victoria and the African Heritage Association of Vancouver Island.

-with files from the Associated Press.

READ ALSO: City of Victoria asks for removal of acronym ‘A.C.A.B.’ from BIPOC mural


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

City of VictoriaVicPDVictoria Police Department

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

Just Posted

Three years for serial bank robber who hit Sidney branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Sidney, Abbotsford and Vancouver

Cook Street Village grocery icon closing, new owners plan major renovation

Louie family has operated Oxford Foods and predecessor for five decades at Cook and Oxford streets

PHOTOS: Gallery explores ‘broken promises’ during Japanese Canadian internment in 1940s

‘Broken Promises’ to acknowledge the thousands of Japanese Canadians who faced dispossession

WorkSafeBC investigating death at Victoria Customs House construction site

Prevention officer will ensure all safety issues addressed before work starts again

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Rare fish washes onto Whiffin Spit in Sooke

Deep water fish identified as ‘King-of-the-salmon’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberal Leader talks drug addiction in the Lower Mainland

Drug addiction and public safety a top priority says Andrew Wilkinson

Island Corridor Foundation launches survey on importance of Vancouver Island rail

“ICF remains 100 per cent committed to the restoration of full rail service on Vancouver Island”

Island RCMP remind drivers not to text after 19 tickets handed out in 90 minutes

The $368 fines were handed out Tuesday on Norwell Drive and Old Island Highway in Nanaimo

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Most Read