FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pivot Legal Society submits Freedom of Information request to Vancouver Police Department in a push for transparent data
October 22, 2020
Vancouver, BC, Coast Salish Territories – Today, in recognition of the October 22nd International Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and Criminalization, Pivot Legal Society has submitted a 9-point freedom of information request to the Vancouver Police Department (VPD). This request focuses on the VPD budget, including all records and information related to proposed and actual spending of the annual police budget from the 2016-present.
Since the summer of 2020, calls to #DefundThePolice have intensified. These calls mark a community-based response to ongoing police brutality, including the use of fatal force. As organizers, advocates, and frontline organizers work to develop alternatives to policing, they have identified the urgent need for transparent data, including police budgets, in order to identify viable community-based safety programming.
Without access to affordable, reliable and transparent data, our ability to identify and monitor outcomes as well as support the lived experiences of Black, Indigenous and other racialized folx is made all the more difficult.
Tonye Aganaba, artist, advocate and member of Black Lives Matter-Vancouver highlights the importance of this data request:
“Without access to affordable, reliable and transparent data, our ability to identify and monitor outcomes as well as support the lived experiences of Black, Indigenous and other racialized folx is made all the more difficult. This data shines a light on the patterns and problems that are entrenched or emerging in relation to police conduct, and the institutions ability to respond to a rapidly changing population.”
Earlier this year, Vancouver City Council voted to request an itemized budget from the Vancouver Police Board, including spending on any work related to mental health, homelessness, drug use, and sex work. To date, this information has not been made available. The lack of transparent, comparable, and itemized police inhibits the work of community groups like Pivot, as we cannot inform existing and future community-based harm reduction and safety services without understand the scope and size of police budgets and expenses.
Pivot continues to advocate for community-based alternatives to policing, in recognition that these forces are deployed against Black, Indigenous, poor, and substance-using communities. Transparent data will allow us to understand how much funding goes towards criminalization.
Direct: 604-255-9700 ext. 154
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Pivot Legal Society has requested the release of documents pursuant to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 165. Pivot, a non-profit, charitable organization, requests that all fees for this request be waived in the public interest. As a public body, the VPD is obligated to respond to requests by members of the public for access to information held by the VPD, in compliance with Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
October 22 Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation
Since 1996, the International Day of Protest has aimed to bring forward a powerful, visible, national protest against police brutality and the criminalization of a generation. The first Day of Protest took place on October 22nd 1996.This year, events have been organized in the US and internationally. Pivot has endorsed the call for the 25th National Day of Protest to STOP Police Brutality, Repression & the Criminalization of a Generation.
Vancouver City Council Motion: Decriminalizing Poverty and Supporting Community-led Safety Initiatives
On July 22, 2020 Vancouver City Council made four resolutions relating to police work in Vancouver, clearly marking Council’s goal to de-prioritize policing as a response to mental health, sex work, homelessness, and substance use and to prioritize funding community-led harm reduction and safety initiatives in these areas.
About Pivot Legal Society
Pivot Legal Society is a leading Canadian human rights organization that uses the law to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion in Canada. Pivot’s work includes challenging laws and policies that force people to the margins of society and keep them there. Since 2002 Pivot has won major victories for sex workers’ rights, police accountability, affordable housing, and health and drug policy.