COPE's by-law elimination suggestion would cause “chaos”, ex-cop says

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.




Feb 20, 2013 at 8:20pm

When Dave Barrett became Premier he threw out vagrancy laws while rightly declaring that its not a crime to be poor. That seems to be the spirit of what COPE is aiming at here. How about addressing poverty Mr Jones?


Feb 20, 2013 at 10:25pm

“I think it is an arrogance that is astonishing,” says the guy who dismisses the idea of getting rid of bylaws that serve no useful purpose other than to sweep the homeless aside as “completely brainless thinking”. Oh, the irony.

James Mortimer

Feb 20, 2013 at 10:41pm

Fuck that, if sleeping on the streets becomes legal I'm moving out into the streets. I'm gonna put my shit in storage for like 100 a month or whatever and bust out my sleeping bag and tent. I can shit and shower at work and just save all my money until I'm rich enough to buy a house outright or something. Yeah it might get harder to get with chicks or whatever but I can always get a hotel on those special occasions. We'll see what that does to the economy.

Just a poor person living in Vancouver...

Mar 3, 2013 at 1:29pm

Jones said "You have people who purportedly represent the interest of the downtrodden but don’t let them speak for themselves." Clearly he wasn't at the COPE meeting, or he know that some of the folks who wrote this motion ARE the ones directly affected by it. People came together and collaborated on these motions. It's probably news to Jones, but COPE's membership is diverse, and includes people that the elite tries to disenfranchise, evict and silence.