A former cop has dismissed a suggestion that the City of Vancouver get rid of bylaws used by police to ticket and move along street people as “completely brainless thinking”.
Dave Jones, now a security consultant and former inspector overseeing the Vancouver Police Department's downtown district, was commenting on one of six “policy directions” adopted by members of the Coalition of Progressive Electors at their civic party’s policy conference on February 16.
According to a COPE news release, this policy direction calls for the “elimination of by-laws used by the VPD to police low-income and vulnerable people from public space”.
“I think it is an arrogance that is astonishing,” Jones said in a phone interview with the Straight. “You have people who purportedly represent the interest of the downtrodden but don’t let them speak for themselves.
“Seriously, we should throw out all rules,” Jones added sarcastically. “It’s a recipe for some degree of chaos.”
COPE executive director Sean Antrim said that this policy direction has yet to be fleshed out by a party committee. But Antrim also noted that a number of people believe having police go after poor people on the streets is “not an efficient use of the city’s money”.
“Obviously the police department enforces different laws to different extents,” Antrim told the Straight by phone. “These ones [bylaws] seem to have been really amped up. They’ve increased the amount of ticketing that they’re doing at the Downtown Eastside.”
Pivot Legal Society is currently challenging in court the constitutionality of three City of Vancouver bylaws that prohibit sleeping on the streets and city properties.