Vancouver Police Department

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is the police force for the City of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. It is one of several police departments covering the Greater Vancouver Area and is the second largest police force in the province after RCMP "E" Division.

VPD seconds officers to the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of RCMP, formerly known as the Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia and more recently, to the Violence Suppression Team, the regional anti-gang task force.


At the first meeting of Vancouver City Council, Vancouver's first police officer, Chief Constable John Stewart, was appointed on May 10, 1886.

On June 14, 1886, the morning after the Great Fire of 1886, Mayor McLean appointed Jackson Abray, V.W. Haywood, and John McLaren as special constables. With uniforms from Seattle and badges fashioned from American coins, this four man team became Vancouver's first police department based out of the City Hall tent at the foot of Carrall Street. These four were replaced in 1887 by special constables sent by the provincial government in Victoria for not keeping the peace during the anti-Asian unrest of that year. The strength of the force increased from four to fourteen as a result.

By 1904, the department had grown to 31 members and occupied a new police building at 200 Cordova Street. In 1912, Vancouver's first two women were taken on the force as matrons. With the amalgamation of Point Grey and South Vancouver with Vancouver in 1929, the department absorbed the two smaller police forces under the direction of Chief Constable W.J. Bingham, a former District Supervisor with the Metropolitan Police in London. By the 1940s the department had grown to 570 members.

In 1917, Chief Constable McLennan, was killed in the line of duty in a shoot-out in Vancouver's East End. Responding to a call by a landlord attempting to evict a tenant, the police were met by gunfire. Along with McLennan, the shooter was killed in the battle, as was a nine year-old boy in the vicinity at Georgia and Jackson streets, which is now marked by a mosaic memorial. A detective who lost an eye in the shootout, John Cameron, later became the chief constable of the New Westminster Police Department before taking the top job of the Vancouver force, which he occupied from 1933 to the end of 1934.

Another member of the force was killed in the line of duty in 1922. Twenty-three year old Constable Robert McBeath was shot by a man stopped for impaired driving. McBeath received the Victoria Cross for "most conspicuous bravery" at the Battle of Cambrai in France in the First World War. McBeath's killer, Fred Deal, was initially sentenced to death, but won an appeal reducing it to life in prison because he had been beaten while in custody. The Marine Squad's boat, the R.G. McBeath VC, was commissioned in 1995 and named in honour of McBeath.

Plans for a new police building at 312 Main Street began in 1953. The Oakridge police station opened in 1961.

In 1935 under Chief Constable W. W. Foster, the Vancouver Police Department was complemented with hundreds of special constables because of a waterfront strike led by communists, which culminated in the Battle of Ballantyne Pier, a riot that broke out when demonstrators attempted to march to the docks to confront strikebreakers. Also that year, nearly 2,000 unemployed men from the federal relief camps scattered throughout the province flocked to Vancouver to protest camp conditions. After two months of incessant demonstrations, the camp strikers left Vancouver and began the On-to-Ottawa Trek.

The Vancouver Police was at the centre of one of the biggest scandals in the city's history in 1955. Feeling frustrated that blatant police corruption was being ignored by the local media, a reporter for the Vancouver Daily Province switched to a Toronto-based tabloid, Flash. He wrote a sensational article alleging corruption at the highest levels of the police department in Vancouver, specifically, that a pay-off system had been implemented whereby gambling operations that paid the police were left alone and those that did not were harassed. After the Flash article appeared in Vancouver, the allegations could no longer be ignored, and a Royal Commission, the Tupper Commission, was struck to hold a public inquiry. Chief Constable Walter Mulligan fled to the United States, another officer from the upper ranks committed suicide, and still another attempted suicide rather than face the inquiry. Other scandals and public inquiries plagued the force before and since this one, dubbed "The Mulligan Affair," but none were so dramatic. An earlier inquiry into corruption in 1928 was ambiguous in its conclusions as to the extent of the problem. The last major inquiry into policing in Vancouver focused largely on police accountability. Judge Wally Oppal (later provincial Attorney General), submitted the results of his report in 1994 in a four volume package entitled Closing the Gap: Policing and the Community


The 1214 person VPD has been headed by Chief Constable Jim Chu since August, 2007 following the retirement of Jamie Graham. Three sections or units are assigned to the Office of the Chief Constable:

  • Chief's Executive Officer - Acting Inspector Ralph Pauw
  • Planning, Research & Audit Section - Acting Director Sergeant Earl Andersen
  • Public Affairs and Marketing Unit - Senior Director Paul Patterson

The rank and file are represented by the Vancouver Police Union.


The force has three operating divisions:


Led by Deputy Chief Constable Doug LePard

  • All patrols
  • Community Policing Centres
  • Community Services Section
  • Forensics Services Section
  • Major Crimes Section
  • Marine Squad
  • Mounted Squad
  • Operations Investigative Section
  • Special Investigations Section
  • Traffic Services

Operations Support

Led by Deputy Chief Constable Steve Sweeney

  • Criminal Intelligence Section
  • Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Section
  • Emergency Response Section
  • Emergency & Operations Planning
    • Vancouver Police Traffic Authority/ Vancouver Traffic Authority (Special Municipal Constable & limited Peace Officer status)
  • Gangs / Drugs Section
  • Tactical Support Section
  • Youth Services Section

Support Services

Led by Deputy Chief Constable Bob Rolls

  • Communications Section
  • Court & Detention Services Section
  • Human Resources Section
  • Facilities Section
  • Financial Services Section
  • Information Management Section
  • Information Technology Section
  • Professional Standards Section
  • Training and Recruiting Section


The VPD is divided into 4 geographic districts:

  • District 1 - Downtown, Granville, West End & Coal Harbour
  • District 2 - Chinatown, Grandview-Woodland and Hastings-Sunrise
  • District 3 - Collingwood and South Vancouver
  • District 4 - Kerrisdale, Oakridge and Marpole

Community Policing Centres


Community Policing Centres (CPCs), except Granville Downtown CPC, are run by registered societies. Granville Downtown CPC is under the direct control of the District 1 commander.


Each CPCs receives $100,000 annually (up to $106,100 annually) from the VPD, which the City of Vancouver funds. The budget is delivered in 4 quarterly payments of $25,000 and they can be used towards staff salaries, CPC programs, costs from electricity, renting office space, etc.


CPCs are run by volunteers on a day-to-day basis with the supervision from paid staffs. Each year, the VPD audits all the CPCs and then reports to the city council on budgeting.

Each CPC is assigned with a Neighbourhood Police Officer(NPO) who provides resources and guidance for the operation of CPC.


Each CPC offers different programs based on budget and neighbourhood needs. For example:

  • Taking non-emergency reports
  • Working in conjunction with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia for the Speed Watch program
  • Working in conjunction with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia for the Stolen Auto Recovery program
  • Working in conjunction with the VPD for the Block Watch Program
  • Community Patrol (Foot/Bike)
  • Bike Roadeo, program for young children in bike safety
  • Outreach/Education programs
  • Engraving
  • Community cleanup
  • City of Vancouver Neighbourhood Integrated Service Teams(NIST), community-based, multi-agencies meeting to solve neighbourhood problems
  • Child Find

However, CPCs do not offer any of the following services:

  • Emergency Report taking
  • Criminal Record Checks
  • Law/bylaw Enforcement
  • Legal/policing advice
  • Victim Services
  • Situations that requires police attendance/assistance

CPC websites

See also


External links

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