Sunday, May 18, 2014

Police abandon Public Access in the DTES

In another thread I asked why there was a big metal fence blocking the public access to the police station in the DTES at 312 Main street. One reader called me stupid for not knowing the police station had moved. I was not aware it moved. Yesterday I went to check it out myself.

The Main street police station is still there right beside the courthouse. It's in a perfect location. There are still tons of police there that use the facility. Only it's closed to public access. Even the East Cordova street entrance.

I asked one police officer what the status of the police station was. He certainly wasn't friendly. They sure don't like talking to anyone with a camera down there. I told him I had heard the police station had moved but I notice a lot of police still there. He said the station was split. I see. There is no doubt a need for the police to use that facility.

My only concern is the whole concept of closing it to public access. I don't see how that helps protect the people living in the DTES from violence. A few years ago I spoke with one woman who lived in the DTES. She said that if she was being aggressively threatened, she would run over to the front of the Main street police station. She said because they have cameras out front it was a safe place to go if you were being harassed. Now that small amount of safety for the residents of the DTES has been taken away. They are left to fend for themselves.

I am somewhat concerned about the amount of money that gets spent on helping the people in the DTES and how they never get to see it. So many people and agencies exploit the people living in the DTES it's not funny. They get harassed and brutalized by the drug dealers and thieves while the police just abandon them. The city gives them a free crack kick and says fend for yourself. Get medicated and forget about it. That is not a solution to the violence in the DTES.

All this money on a new state of the art police station on Graveley street and all this money on a fleet of band new expensive police cars while the police turn around and abandon the people who live in the DTES completely. That is not right. The police say well they don't want us there they hate us. That's not entirely true. The drug dealers and thieves don't want them there. The addicts want the police to protect them not give them the boots. It really is that simple.

Of course this policy is from city hall not the police. No doubt individual officers feel frustrated. They had a guy writing a blog about walking the beat in east Van but they ended up pulling the plug on that campaign as well since Mayor Robertson just cares about the city's image like every other politician. At first the police were concerned about closing the station down at night to suppress crime statistics. Now the city has closed the whole thing to the public entirely. This is not progressive. It doesn't help stop the violence against sex trade workers or anyone else there.

The Main street police station is within eyesight of the open drug market at the Carnegie centre. I walked around the block yesterday and saw some street venders on the East Hastings side of the building. One guy had a huge open wound on his face from being recently brutalized. Another guy selling stuff had several rocks of crack in his hand that someone else was picking from after paying him for them. Open crack deals in plain view. That is what needs to stop.

Arresting the crack dealers not the addicts would be an amazing thing outside the Carnegie centre. Addressing the crack plague is no doubt a daunting task but like everything all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men and women to remain silent and do nothing. We can't do everything but we can do something. We are morally obligated to try. We are also morally obligated to stop the brutal violence that victimizes the residents of the DTES on a daily basis. The DTES has been one colossal failed social experiment. It's time to try something new.

You must empty your cup to taste my cup of tea.


  1. Agent K, your are starting to criticize the police, have you seen the light? Now think about promoting ONE police force for the GVRD and think about how many regional policing issues that step alone will solve.

    1. Better yet we could combine them all into one federal force and call it the RCMP :) Just kidding. It's like ICBC. I don't care if people have private or public car insurance. It really doesn't matter to me. Likewise, I don't care if we have a regional federal or city police force. My only caution is that a regional police force won't solve all our problems because the VPD, West Vancouver, Delta and New Westminster police forces all have similar problems. We need public accountability at all levels. Nevertheless, this particular concern is the result of City Hall not the VPD.

    2. "The VPD, West Vancouver, Delta and New Westminster police forces all have similar problems."

      Exactly. The problem is the "culture of policing" in Canada, and this begins, and ends, with the the RCMP and it's history. Not the deeds of a few heroic men here and there that they speak of (and there are those) but it's true history as an organization that by and large does as it pleases, running it's own affairs mostly apart from the public eye or any real accountability.

    Have a glimpse into the causes for many RCMP officers root cause for being frustrated!
    There will never be a return to any trustworthy RCMP Canada wide policing as once was decades past!

    1. Good article. We need to remember we can't throw out the baby with the bath water. Corruption is clearly a concern but not all cops are bad. This is the follow up article in the paper:

  3. You Know that line the police always use when they want you to answer a bunch of their questions, or consent to a search....."Well, if you haven't done anything wrong you don't have anything to worry about".......

    Same applies to being photographed/filmed in the course of their duties. They can not like camera's all they want, the fact is the public has a perfect right to record LEO's in the course of their duties as long as they are not interfering with such, in other words they need to be a certain minimum distance away, but as long as they are, the police have nothing to say about it. The simple act of recording by people who are interacting with police (traffic stop, their own front door, etc.) is not interference. "Turn the camera off" is an unlawful order, therefore "failure to comply with instructions" is an unlawful charge.

    Any cop who has a problem with non-interference recording who objects to this is telling you something about him/herself and how they view their job. "I don't like it, so you can't do it".

    "If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about". Goose, meet gander.


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