Mental Health and Policing - Over the past three years, Pivot has been collecting affidavits from low-income people about their experiences with the police. The stories we’ve collected have prompted us to look more systemically at the way in which police are interacting with people with mental health concerns.
Private Security and Human Rights – We recently settled a case involving five low-income men who alleged that they suffered brutality and discrimination at the hands of private security guards at a mall in Vancouver. We are continuing to challenge the impacts of the private security industry on individuals who are marginalized and are also developing a set of proposed legislative amendments to improve accountability and transparency within the private security industry.
Regulation of Police Dogs - After receiving complaints from a number of people who have been bitten by police dogs, we are working toward significant reforms the policy and procedures related to the use of service dogs by police in British Columbia. We are representing individuals who have suffered major injuries as a result of interactions with police dogs. Our goal is to highlight ongoing problems with unwarranted police dog attacks and to create policy change regarding the use of dogs during arrest through legal action and a new report looking at the use of police dogs in British Columbia.
Affidavit Campaign Sparks Audit of BC Police Complaints - In 2002, Pivot began collecting affidavits from people in the Downtown Eastside about their experiences with the Vancouver Police. The 50 affidavits formed the basis of our first report, To Serve and Protect and sparked retired BC Supreme Court Judge Josiah Wood’s audit of the police complaints process in B.C. Wood’s recommendations mirrored many of those made by Pivot, including: improved and strengthened roles for third parties who make complaints and amending the Police Act to oblige police officers who are being investigated to cooperate with that investigation. The VPD also introduced significant policy reforms in response to the affidavits, including an improved seized property handling policy, and a more stringent note-taking procedure.
Formal apology by VPD to residents of the Downtown Eastside - In November 2007, shortly after the appointment of a new chief, the Vancouver Police Department released a formal written apology to residents of the Downtown Eastside. The apology came almost five years after Pivot filed a series of 50 complaints against officers working in the neighbourhood. Along with the formal apology, the Vancouver Police Department also released a detailed accounting of errors and disciplinary defaults in the handling of complaints. Along with discipline for numerous officers, the accounting also set out 16 major policy and procedural changes initiated as a result of the Pivot complaints.
Independent Investigations Office (IIO) announced for BC - In May of 2011, the Provincial Government amended the Police Act to create an Independent Investigation Office to investigate incidents where police cause death or serious harm. Pivot, along with many other organizations and the families of victims of police misconduct, fought tirelessly for the creation of this body. The Independent Investigations Office will be led by a civilian who has never been a police officer and staffed by retired officers who have not worked in B.C. for at least five years. The goal is to have the office staffed entirely with civilians who have never served on a police force by 2015.