B.C. Premier John Horgan. (The Canadian Press)

B.C. to review Police Act amid growing calls to defund police

‘It’s only during this time of questioning from the public that we take a look at the Police Act that’s 45 years old’

The province has pledged to create a committee to potentially update B.C.’s Police Act, amid growing calls to defund policing across the country.

During an unrelated news conference in Sooke on Friday (June 12), Premier John Horgan was asked to respond to a growing chorus of voices urging cities to defund policing and instead focus that money on other social services to better serve Black, Indigenous and people of color. The calls on this side of the 49th parallel come as protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue in cities all over the U.S.

“It’s only during this time of questioning from the public that we take a look at the Police Act that’s 45 years old,” Horgan said, adding that the responsibilities of law enforcement have much changed in that time, specifically with police currently being expected to take on issues around mental health, addiction and homelessness.

Horgan, however, argued that defunding the police is a “simplistic approach to a complex problem,” and one that involves more funding for social issues.

Horgan envisions expanding the capacity for communities to deliver help to those in need instead of asking police for more than they’re capable of delivering.

“That opens up a whole series of debates and discussions about how we provide more resources to community wellness that go out and beyond community safety.”

At least one city have committed to make steps to undergo changes within their forces. On Vancouver Island, the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board has requested a racial and gender analysis of the Victoria police force to compare to that of the general population.

In Vancouver, Mayor Kennedy Stewart – who is the chair of the Vancouver Police Board – said it would best be suited for the province to handle any reviews.

“The province’s Police Act requires us to more or less rubber stamp police budgets outside minimal discretionary spending,” he said during a news conference Thursday.

His comments were met with criticism from the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, who accused him of passing the buck.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said this week that he will table a motion to strike the committee when the legislature resumes later this month. Horgan said the hope is to “shape the legislation for the 21st century instead of mid-century 1900s.”

Federally, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier this week that he would push premiers and the RCMP to equip police with body-worn cameras.

– with a file from The Canadian Press


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Police

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Group rescued unharmed after attempting to tube Lakelse River

Terrace Search and Rescue brought in helicopter to conduct search

Police investigate July 2 homicide in Houston

Man succumbed to injuries at Pearson Road residence

Terrace couple awarded by Governor General for volunteer work

Ron and Mavis Ramsey recognized for founding society that covers medical expenses

Skeena Sawmills in Terrace inks fibre deals with Kitselas Forestry and Kalum Ventures

Sawmill set to purchase around 45,000 cubic metres of fibre per year

Skeena Sawmills in Terrace reach labour agreement with local United Steelworkers union

The four and a half year long deal was ratified on May 19, 2020 and is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Liberal party finished 2019 having spent $43 million, raised $42 million

All political parties had until midnight June 30 to submit their financial reports for last year

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read