NDP calls for improved transit-police accountability

The Straight

Today, Vancouver-Kensington NDP MLA David Chudnovsky called on the B.C. Liberal government to introduce greater accountability to the TransLink police.

In an NDP news release, Chudnovsky said citizens should be in the majority on the board of the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority Police Service.

Rider Cooey, a citizen watchdog over the police boards, has previously called for NO police on the GVTAPS board.

Under the Police Act, police are prohibited from serving on municipal police boards.

The NDP news release, however, doesn’t go that far. Chudnovsky, the party’s transportation critic, said that civilian oversight is the “accepted norm” but stopped short of saying there should be no cops on the board.

One of the NDP caucus’s most right-wing MLAs, Solicitor General critic Mike Farnworth, offered up the following quote in the news release: “Transit policing in the Lower Mainland is an increasingly important task. Residents want to feelsafe and secure and they want to be confident that the governance of the transit police is modern, effective and accountable.”

Two senior RCMP officers, the chief of the New Westminster police, and a deputy Vancouver police chief are on the six-member GVTAPS board.

Last weekend, a former NDP provincial candidate, community activist Am Johal, called for the resignation of Attorney General Wally Oppal and Solicitor General John Les for ignoring the normal approach to police accountability. See a previous posting on this news blog for the details.

The Straight phoned the attorney general’s ministry for Oppal’s response, but he couldn’t be bothered to return the call. Oppal’s 1994 report on municipal policing contained several recommendations for improving police governance, none of which called for adding sitting cops to police boards.

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