911 Response Times Slowing Again in Vancouver

In an article in today’s Vancouver Sun, Tom Stamakakis, President of the Vancouver Police Union, is quoted saying that the recent formation of the Violence Suppression Team is having a negative impact on response times to other calls.

Last February, the VPD released their Patrol Deployment Study which indicated that Vancouver averaged 13 minute response for Priority One calls… the slowest in Canada.

The VPD Union argues that it is a lack of Officers that has caused these slow, and dangerous, numbers.

I was asked to speak about this issue on the Bill Good Show the day after the report came out. My suggestion has always been that the Police stop responding to burglar alarms. Police response to burglar alarms is one of the most ineffective uses of their time, and is still allowed to consume a significant portion of it every year.

I took some heat from within the security industry when I referred to the security industry as a ‘parasite on the police‘ on the show. The point being that the alarm industry makes money from monitoring alarms that rely on Police response. The more alarms, the greater the number of dispatches each year for the Police. In a nutshell, alarm companies make money from helping to make a problem for the Police worse.

The fact remains that 98% of alarms are false… expecting the Police to provide response to private alarms is a waste of time and money in the best case scenario.

In situations like this, where there are even fewer Patrol Officers on the street as a result of the creation of special task forces, such as the Violence Suppression Team, the problem only gets worse.

As policing becomes more sophisticated and specialized, and the need for these types of task forces and special teams increases, we either need to continuously hire new Police Officers (which doesn’t seem to be an option) or take a very hard look at what functions the Police are currently providing that do not provide any value…. and get rid of them.

I can not think of a more wasteful expenditure of taxpayers money than funding Police response to private alarms.

other posts on this topic:

Here is a link to a post talking about LAPD Chief Bratton referring to the alarm industry as an “unnecessary burden”.

Here’s a post that references another time that I was on the Bill Good Show, this time with a representative of Alarmforce. During this segment, we argued about the value of an alarm without immediate response… the title of the post “Provident vs. Alarmforce on CKNW” is a fitting one.

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