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

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

Just Posted

The location of the vehicle incident near Chase that closed Highway 1 in both directions. (Google maps)
UPDATE: One person dead, two injured in Highway 1 collision near Chase

Highway 1 is closed in both directions and traffic control personnel are on scene

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Jane and Dennis Aubertin, Nicole Bell’s mother and step-father, stand with Jody Leon, founder of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Drone Search Team, with a poster of four women missing from the North Okanagan-Shuswap – Ashley Simpson, Caitlin Potts, Nicole Bell and Deanna Wertz. (Facebook photo)
Volunteers sought in search for Caitlin Potts

Missing Enderby woman last seen in 2016

Spread out on the staircase of the Kelowna courthouse on June 10, 2021, were several signs with messages calling for justice against Curtis Sagmoen and an end to violence. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News file)
Sagmoen cop assault trial set for 2022

Pre-trial conference set to start process Jan. 26, 2022

Rosy Mounce was recognized as one the Shuswap’s outstanding community leaders in the 2021 Salmon Arm Top 20 Under 40 program. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm’s Top 20 Under 40: Rosy Mounce

Program recognizes the region’s young community leaders.

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

People decided to tag Skaha Bluffs rocks which the Ministry has to go in and now clean up. (Facebook)
Bluffs at popular Penticton rock climbing park defaced

Ministry of Environment is going to clean it up

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Phil McLachlan/(Black Press Media
Man shot at Kamloops shopping centre

The man is believed to be in stable condition

Scooters lined up for an educational event in Stuart Park on Wednesday, June 16. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
Free e-scooter safety training in Kelowna

Shared e-scooter operators collaborate to educate riders

Most Read