Late-night policing latest gripe between VicPD and city council

(Victoria Police Chief Del Manak/Photo by Brishti Basu)

VicPD and Victoria City Council have been at odds over the preliminary city budget for 2023 for the past few months.

The most recent issue between the duo was that the late night police program was cut due to a mishap or miscommunication between city staff, city council and VicPD.

VicPD has asked for a Budget increase of 9.55%although the City of Victoria tells them that no city government will receive more than a 7% increase to keep their budgets in line with inflation.

The city has asked them to cap their budget at 7% in the first place so Victoria’s taxpayers don’t bear the burden of the extra money VicPD is asking for.


While these disputes between the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Department and the City Council are ongoing, the night policing program has been suspended without warning. This item has been an integral part of the VicPD budget since 2009.

On February 17, City of Victoria officials proposed a $220,000 budget cut for “business and community relations,” serving a number of purposes of which VicPD’s nighttime policing program was just one.

“I have received no official notification from city officials that this article is the subject of a planned cut,” Chief Manak told Victoria Buzz. “I heard through the rumor mill from one of our employees that city officials had recommended removing this item from the 2023 budget.”

At the time the cut was approved, councilors admit they were unaware that VicPD’s nighttime policing program was a part of it.

The Late Night Police Program consists of four additional officers who patrol downtown Victoria’s bars, nightclubs and streets to ensure people behave in a manner that makes everyone around them feel safe.

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On March 2, Chief Manak appeared before the council to explain the benefits of the nighttime policing program and believed he was expertly conveying his view of the program’s importance to council members.

“I spoke about how a highly visible police presence allows us to proactively mitigate many disturbances, violent behavior, aggressive behavior and truly prevent many assaults, fights, even sexual assaults and impaired drivers,” Manak said.

Chief Manak also expressed that gang members coming into Victoria from the Lower Mainland are a growing concern for VicPD and the night officers help to intervene in potentially dangerous situations.

“I later heard from the city that this item was cut,” Manak said. “So I checked with the city manager and the mayor.”

“Actually, I was quite shocked that after hearing my justification and speaking out in favor of keeping this funding, the council members would vote to cut funding.”

“The return on investment for the $220,000 is off the charts,” Manak added.

Despite its presentation, the program was actually cut short before St. Patrick’s Day on March 16.

“They cut that article at the 11th hour and essentially pulled the rug out from under me,” Manak said. “I can’t add to my 2023 budget that this ship put to sea months and months ago.”

Chief Manak said he could not add the $220,000 to his 2023 budget at this point in deliberations between the council and the police department. The reduced funds are paid specifically by the Victorians, separate from the overall budget, which the Esquimalt Parish is also responsible for paying.

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As the police program was part of the cuts, some councilors have reassured Victorians that they will table a motion for the program to be reinstated in VicPD’s 2023 budget at the earliest opportunity.

“Now I’m hearing from council members that they are willing to reconsider their position because they didn’t know the item they were cutting was the late-night task force,” Manak said.

“I’m heartened to hear that some of you are supporting this to help maintain public safety.”

Councilor Matt Dell tweeted that he was unaware that this program was part of the community relations item that was cut from February, but he will work to bring it back into the budget.

Currently, Victoria City Council is on hiatus and will not return to council chambers until April 6, when Chief Manak said he will be given an opportunity to reiterate the value he sees in the scheme.


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