Vancouver police propose policy for victims, witnesses who are undocumented immigrants

If approved, officers will not ask about an immigration status, unless needed

Vancouver police are proposing a new set of guidelines in dealing with undocumented immigrants, in hopes of quashing their fears of being deported.

The Vancouver Police (VPD) said in a statement Tuesday that the new “access without fear” guidelines, if approved, will direct officers to not ask about a victim’s, witness’, or complainant’s immigration status.

The guidelines also say that officers should not communicate with Canada Border Services Agency about an immigration status during the course of a police investigation, unless there is are bona fide reasons or there is a legal requirement to do so.

Reasons that would give enough grounds for police to ask about an immigration status include if Crown Counsel requires information for court purposes, the person may require witness protection, the information is necessary to prove essential elements of an offence or if it ensures public safety.

“The VPD is mindful of the challenges undocumented migrants face,” the guidelines read. “The protection of the public is without question the central objective of the VPD, one which applies equally to all people regardless of their immigration status.”

Police said the guidelines are “not to be construed as prohibiting VPD members from fulfilling their duties under Canadian legislation,” and would not hinder investigations that involve search warrants or written orders.

The guidelines would also not include searching Canada’s central police database for information about persons of interest when appropriate, the police said.

The new guidelines stem from a request from Vancouver City Council in April 2016, when councillors unanimously passed the city’s access without fear policy, which ensured immigrants could access city services with no questions asked.

The Vancouver Police Board will be reviewing the guidelines at a board meeting Thursday. If passed, the police detachment will deliver training on the new guidelines to its more than 500 officers, and the detachment would delegate a point of contact for any concerns.

RCMP spokespeople did not immediately return request for comment on their policy for dealing with undocumented immigrants.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrey wants BNSF to slow Crescent trains

Mayor Linda Hepner said ‘it’s the least we can do’

Rail-safety forum planned for White Rock this Friday

Event to include municipal, federal, provincial governments

White Rock open house to discuss city’s aquifer protection plan

Examination of potential hazards includes increased population, climate change

‘Connecting Threads’ and more in Surrey Art Gallery’s fall shows

Free admission at opening reception and panel discussion Sunday afternoon

SFU unveils new lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital

Combination of MRI, MEG allows for ‘best possible windows’ intro brain function

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

New ‘meowyoral’ race featuring felines announced by B.C. animal shelter

Organizers hope the cat election will generate attention for shelter and local municipal election

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

Most Read