Metro Vancouver police ‘intelligence centre’ to cost $5.8M annually
The Missing Women's Inquiry is pictured as Commissioner Wally Oppal delivers remarks shortly after it was made public in Vancouver, British Columbia December 17, 2012. The 1,448-page report examines the mishandling of the Robert Pickton serial killer case by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). (REUTERS FILE PHOTO)
Plans are underway to launch a real-time policing “intelligence centre” in May, linking Metro Vancouver’s various police agencies in situations ranging from gang violence to terrorism.
Such a centre is a direct recommendation from the Missing Women’s Commission of Inquiry that has now been incorporated into the provincial policing plan.
According to Vancouver Staff Sgt. Earl Andersen, what the province is currently using doesn’t work for regular officers.
“In B.C. there is only limited interoperability between various law enforcement databases,” Andersen wrote.
“For example, the RCMP, VPD, federal and provincial corrections and the BC Sheriffs each have their own human source intelligence databases.”
In his report to the Vancouver Police Board, Andersen said the new $5.8-million annually funded centre would replace the current Provincial Intelligence Centre, which in its existing form only focuses on violent gangs and is closed for 10 hours a day.
The new centre would operate 24-7 with a staff of 43 to help officers overcome “challenges associated with jurisdictional boundaries, fiscal restraint and limited resources,” Andersen wrote.
It would start small — covering only the Lower Mainland — but should be in place for the entire province by the 2016-17 fiscal year.
Kwantlen Polytechnic University criminologist Greg Jenion said on Sunday the centre is a good idea, but it needs a way to measure its effectiveness outside of police-generated enforcement numbers.
“A lot of these things can be really reactionary, merely maintaining where we’re at today with some of our crime problems,” he said.
Jenion added whether police initiatives affect response times, or public satisfaction — which can be obtained through community surveys — should be used to determine success.
The report noted real-time crime centres work — more than 70 exist in the U.S. and the Calgary Police Service’s centre was used to conduct B.C.’s assessment.