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

Controversial supportive housing project gets green light from Kelowna city council

Land for 52-unit project on Agassiz Road rezoned after lengthy, packed public hearing

Youth losing human connection in digital era

Forum offers advice to Kelowna parents about managing a child’s social media screen time

Okanagan youth invited to speak at TEDx event in Kelowna

Application deadine Jan. 31 to be selected as TEDx Youth presenter

Windmills returns to the stage for what could be the last time

The musician took a break from music for a year to recover from his last EP

Kelowna Art Gallery hosts new exhibition, Poetics of Space

The exhibition can be viewed from Feb. 2 until May 5

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Missing B.C. boy and aunt found safe

The pair had been reported missing from Kamloops

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

Unruly passenger forces B.C.-bound flight to divert to Calgary

Police say charges are pending against a woman in her 40s

Inflation rises as higher airfares, veggie prices offset cheaper gas

Statistics Canada says inflation accelerated to two per cent in December

Shuswap youth shares vision for national event with Justin Trudeau

Salmon Arm Friendship Day founder gains politicial insight in meeting with prime minister

Social media strains over Prince Rupert’s boil water notice

Resident forms Community for Clean Water, and Jennifer Rice responds to acting mayor’s comments

Dog dies saving B.C. family from burning home

Homeowners safe but one pet missing, another confirmed dead following fire

Russian fighter jets collide over Sea of Japan crews eject

One plane crashed after its crew ejected safely, the other crew also ejected but they have not been found

Most Read