Vancouver police respond to recommendations from Oppal report

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      The Vancouver police have indicated their support for a series of policing recommendations made by Wally Oppal in his final report on the B.C. missing women inquiry.

      In a report going before the Vancouver Police Board Tuesday (January 22), deputy police chief Doug LePard outlines the police force’s support for most of the 63 recommendations made by Oppal, including a call for the provincial government to establish a Greater Vancouver regional police force.

      “The VPD is committed to moving quickly to implement the Commissioner’s recommendations as they apply to the VPD and to working with the Provincial Government’s report champion, former Lieutenant Governor Steven Point, and other stakeholders in ensuring that all police-relevant recommendations are addressed in a comprehensive and timely fashion,” LePard wrote in the report.

      The other recommendations supported by the VPD include a call for police officers to be required to undergo training related to vulnerable community members, for the provincial government to fund additional full-time sex-trade liaison officer positions in the Lower Mainland, and for the City of Vancouver to create two community-based liaison positions for people who have experience in the survival sex trade.

      The report also outlines changes made within the police department since the missing women investigations, such as the development of communication strategies for issuing warnings to people who may be the most at risk of a particular threat.

      In response to a recommendation from Oppal to reestablish an independent group like the Vancouver Police Native Liaison Society, LePard said the Aboriginal Community Police Centre fulfills a similar role. 

      "While the VPD is supportive of consultation and a needs assessment with this community, the VPD believes that these needs are already met by the ACPC," he wrote.

      LePard indicated a joint report is also being drafted by the Vancouver Police Department and the City of Vancouver to address some of Oppal’s recommendations.

      Oppal released his final report on the B.C. Missing Women Commission of Inquiry on December 17. The inquiry was conducted to examine police investigations into women that went missing from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside in the years leading up to serial killer Robert Pickton’s arrest.

      Vancouver police chief Jim Chu issued an apology on December 18 to the families and friends of the missing and murdered women for the force's failure to catch Pickton sooner.

      The VPD's report will go before the police board on Tuesday afternoon.