In its strategic plan of 2008 to 2012, Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has set priorities that will ensure that Vancouver becomes the safest city in Canada. In short, the Vancouver Police Department made several promises to the residents of Vancouver. The department will reduce “property crime by 25 percent, reduce violent crime by 12.5 percent, disrupt organized crime groups, prevent low-level crimes and problems which affect perceptions of neighbourhood safety, and reduce motor vehicle accidents which result in injury or death by 12.5 percent” (VPD, 2012).
In support of these strategies, the VPD will try to create and maintain positive working relationships, such as sharing of information with other officers and stakeholders in the community. The VPD will provide public, educational outreach on policing and police-related issues and socially responsible programs and initiatives that benefit youths. VPD also has a goal of managing resources in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The VPD will focus on the personal and career development of individuals. Consequently, VPD encourages and supports career development and succession planning for all staff. Likewise, VPD ensures that it has the human resources and training needed to meet its objectives. Thus, it supports and fosters employee wellness as it streamlines its administrative process. VPD also intends to research, get and use the best technology and available resources to assist officers in investigations and enforcement of a crime.
The VPD has also embarked on encouraging the public to become familiar with its entire strategic plan. This is because this plan will affect VPD’s activities for the next five years. At the same time, it will also guide VPD’s yearly budget and plans.
The VPD has started a community policing philosophy to “facilitate problem-solving with the help of the Vancouver community” (VPD, 2012). VPD has adopted diverse approaches to community policing strategies. These include Block Watch, Citizens’ Crime Watch and Community Policing Centers (CPCs) as parts of that philosophy. The VPD controls ten Community Policing Centers. Many of them are “non-profit organizations operated through independent directors, with two operated by the VPD” (VPD, 2012). These centres get their funding from the City of Vancouver.
Through the Community Policing initiative, VPD has been able to protect society using some of these strategies. Block Watch program enables neighbours to work together and protect each other. There is also a Business Liaison program among wholesale and retail businesses to combat shoplifting, robbery, internal theft, and burglary. VPD has also initiated Citizens’ Crime Watch that includes members of the community participating in combating crime, in the neighbourhood streets. VPD strategies also take into account issues concerning unsafe neighbourhoods, graffiti, garbage, and municipal violation (VPD, 2012).
The VPD can still improve on some of the areas of community policing. Community policing still lacks a model for handling some issues. For instance, police officers have problems solving issues of partnerships or agreements in writing between the different members of the community.
There is also underutilization of community policing resources. Not all departments are using resources wisely. VPD can encourage its officers to make use of both police and community resources available. Local community centers should also engage citizens, particularly in areas of crime prevention education (Brown, 1984). At the same time, police officers should engage the locals frequently to facilitate crime watch and prevention. There are also other services such as emergency medical attention, fire response services, and civil defence where VPD can improve their outcomes.
Brown, L. (1984). Community policing: A practical guide for police officers. The Police Chief, 26, 72–82.
VPD. (2012). The Vancouver Police Department. Web.
VPD. (2012). Vancouver Police Department 2008-2012 Strategic Plan. Vancouver, Canada: VPD.