Taxpayer Logo

Official site of the
CANADIAN TAXPAYERS FEDERATION
a citizens advocacy group dedicated to lower taxes,
less waste and accountable government.

[$description:substr(start="0",length="10")]
[$description:striptags():escape():substr(start='0',length='150')]
[$description:striptags():escape():substr(start="0",length="150")]

BC: TransLink Must Cut Costs—Starting With Its Cops

March 13, 2012
BC: TransLink Must Cut Costs—Starting With Its Cops

As regional mayors and the B.C. Government consider giving TransLink up to two dozen new taxation tools, it is becoming clear that there are problems within the transit authority. Whistleblowers and media have pointed out concerns about nepotism, security, U-passes, safety, communications, fare evasion, polling, superfluous studies and other wastes of tax dollars.

Add TransLink’s Transit Police to the list of concerns, says an Edmonton Police report which looked at possible transit security models for the Alberta system to emulate.

“[TransLink’s] type of arrangement has resulted in much confusion and inefficiencies,” said the Edmonton report, which was written by a senior officer. “This type of police service designation will not likely ever be repeated in [B.C.].”

The Edmonton officer notes that “negotiation” must happen between transit officers and local police over who takes the lead on incidents that occur on or near SkyTrain. The acrimony that often results means “some police departments don’t want any involvement by the Transit Police. There are times when [local detachments] will refuse to take the call because of the existence of a Transit Police group.”

In other words, if someone gets mugged on SkyTrain, the Transit Police either waste a bunch of time arguing with the local police over who gets to investigate, or the local police just won’t show up at all.

TransLink police officers aren’t happy, says the Edmonton report: “When you put fully trained police officers in a transit environment, and restrict their work to transit properties, they realize fairly quickly that transit crime and disorder work is not that interesting… [resulting] in members looking outside of their designated work areas to expand their policing experience.” This leads to even more conflict with local RCMP and city police detachments.

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has recently finished its own audit of the Transit Police. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) for the audit has been delayed—the report is still in its “draft” form and due to be presented to the Transit Police Board next month. The public, who pays for the police and the audit, isn’t allowed to see it yet.

But if the VPD audit is anything like the Edmonton view of the TransLink Transit Police, it will be a harsh reality check for a police force that cost taxpayers $27.2 million in 2010 and will grow 28 per cent to $34.9 million by 2014.

Another CTF FOI request revealed that Transit Police officers are paid a 25 per cent bonus for working Sundays. This Sunday premium has cost taxpayers $1.4 million over five years, and is not something RCMP officers receive. Transit Police have fatter pay cheques than their RCMP or VPD counterparts—making at least $75,000 each annually.  Of 177 transit cops, 66 made more than $100,000 in 2010.

The Transit Police should be disbanded and local police forces should be given back full jurisdiction over SkyTrain lines in their community. With fare gates coming, the number of Transit Police files, 63 per cent of which are simply writing violation tickets, should drop dramatically.

Younger officers would be absorbed by forces across the Lower Mainland, and older officers—many of whom are double-dipping by collecting pensions from other forces—could go back into retirement.

Before TransLink is given any more access to our tax dollars, they must clean up their own shop first—and they should start with the failed Transit Police experiment.

By
on March 14, 2012
They are gestapo and useless, as are the rest of Translink's overpaid station crews.

You have successfully posted your comment. Please allow 24 hours for your comment to be reviewed before being published to the site.

By
on March 15, 2012
With respect, Jordan Bateman’s editorial, which brusquely dismissed the Transit Police as a “failed…experiment” is without appropriate context or regard for the facts. Mr. Bateman based his comments on a report completed by Acting Superintendent Garry Meads from the Edmonton Police Service. This report was never meant to assess and judge the existence of Transit Police within TransLink, as Mr. Bateman has naïvely done, taking the report and its contents completely out of context in the process. At the time that this report was completed, I was a Deputy Chief in the Edmonton Police Service, and have a full, firsthand understanding of the intention behind this report and how it related to Special Constables working for the City of Edmonton. The research that went into this report was anecdotal, far from authoritative, and completed at a very high level in an effort to support the business case regarding bylaw officers in the City of Edmonton. It was not intended to assess whether Transit Police is a viable organization within Metro Vancouver. The information contained within the report was, at times, incorrect; Transit Police are not restricted to transit properties, and there is a security unit attached to the Coast Mountain Bus Company. With respect to Mr. Bateman’s assertion that Transit Police “waste a bunch of time arguing with the local police over who gets to investigate,” he’s simply wrong. We have a proven record of collaborating with jurisdictional police across Metro Vancouver. In fact, the recently completed Operational Review, referred to in Mr. Bateman’s editorial, found that in 2010 Transit Police investigated: • 57% of all transit-related violent crime • 67% of all transit-related property crime • 92% of all transit-related drug offences, and • 72% of all other transit-related crime. Recognizing that the jurisdictional police departments have many competing priorities and challenging service demands, many of these achievements could not have been accomplished without the committed and focused approach used by the Transit Police. Continuing to examine the facts, the Vancouver Police Department recently finished an audit of the operations of the Transit Police. This report was requested by the Chief Officer of Transit Police and was not organized by the Vancouver Police Department. The goal of the operational review is to find methods in which the Transit Police can be more efficient and effective. Mr. Bateman is correct in stating that the “Draft” Operational Review will be completed and presented to the Transit Police Board for information next month. In the meantime, the facts speak volumes about the effectiveness of Transit Police in the region. In 2011 Transit Police: • Wrote 69,082 violation tickets • Achieved a 14% reduction in Crimes Against Persons/100,000 boarded passengers • Achieved a 15% reduction in Crimes Against Property/100,000 boarded passengers • Achieved a 35% increase (613) in warrant execution for its policing partners and 121 Transit Police warrants were executed In total, 734 fugitives were removed from the system. • Won a community safety award for a joint partnership with Surrey RCMP, and • Arrested a highly organized crime group defrauding the transit system of up to $50,000 a month. We are proud of our contributions and have made a valuable impact while also watching our bottom line. We are currently working within a zero-growth budget framework, and are under budget for the fourth year running. With respect to salaries, the Sunday premium Mr. Bateman mentioned is the direct result of a negotiated collective agreement, yet he neglected to mention that the average salary of the 167 sworn officers ranks fourth behind the Vancouver, Abbotsford and Victoria Police Departments. Still, we will continue to look for ways to operate more efficiently and focus on reducing our overtime expenditures. Mr. Bateman concludes by sharing his opinion that the Transit Police should be disbanded, and local police forces should be given back full jurisdiction over SkyTrain lines in their community. This is simply not an option for a transit system that runs through twenty-two different municipalities that are linked to a variety of jurisdictional police departments that can provide varying levels of capacity and service to our transportation system. As clearly stated in the Memorandum of Understanding between Transit Police and our Jurisdictional Police partners, “Jurisdictional Police have obligations dictated by statute, executive order and/or contract for the delivery of police services within British Columbia and to their respective jurisdictions, including primary responsibility for the delivery of police services within the Transportation Services Region.” I continue to be impressed each and every day with the great work accomplished by the Transit Police, and am grateful for the opportunity to put Mr. Bateman’s simplistic analysis of a complex regional policing challenge into perspective. Neil Dubord Chief Officer, Transit Police

You have successfully posted your comment. Please allow 24 hours for your comment to be reviewed before being published to the site.

By
on March 16, 2012
It's about time this boondoggle was exposed. Thanx Jordan. The double-dipping is outrageous . Your point about fare gates negating the need for this force is right on. Cheers.

You have successfully posted your comment. Please allow 24 hours for your comment to be reviewed before being published to the site.

By
on March 20, 2012
The Translink police are absolutely not necessary and a waste of money

You have successfully posted your comment. Please allow 24 hours for your comment to be reviewed before being published to the site.

By
on April 12, 2012
How is it double dipping if these members are both working and collecting a pension from a previous police job. That is a bunch of BS from Mr. Bateman and the rest of his disgruntled group. If a retired cop on pension was working at Home Depot or the local golf course, would that be double dipping? Stop worrying about things you know nothing about (ie. public safety) and concentrate on the real tax waste including fighter jets, welfare, and Quebec.

You have successfully posted your comment. Please allow 24 hours for your comment to be reviewed before being published to the site.

By
on May 21, 2012
How about the skytrain control office in Edmonds, Burnaby ? There needs to be a freedom of information request sent to obtain the salaries , especially of the maintenance workers, this is where a lot of unnecessary expenditures are occurring. The maintenance division at Skytrain Control needs to be questionned, they have managed to stay under the radar for far too long. Wake up BC and start campaigning to have the maintenance division questionned. Its your tax money, stop allowing Translink from taking you for a "ride"

You have successfully posted your comment. Please allow 24 hours for your comment to be reviewed before being published to the site.

By 65&counting
on January 28, 2015
They hired these goons to "save millions from fare evaders" who are usually just people who can't afford to to pay. No 'new revenue' from them possible. It now cost millions more to have armed 'tin cops' bullying people on the bus.

You have successfully posted your comment. Please allow 24 hours for your comment to be reviewed before being published to the site.

LEAVE A COMMENT

You have successfully posted your comment. Please allow 24 hours for your comment to be reviewed before being published to the site.

Sign in to leave a comment

You have successfully posted your comment. Please allow 24 hours for your comment to be reviewed before being published to the site.

You have the power to change who influences politics in our country: big unions, big corporations and government-funded special interest groups can be challenged by the contributions of thousands of individual taxpayers who care to make a difference.

FEATURED PETITIONS

JOIN US

Join over 81,000 Canadian Taxpayers receiving our Action Update newsletter. I understand that I may unsubscribe at any time.

RECEIVE THE TAXPAYER MAGAZINE!

“False Alarms”“Message Delivered”
The Taxpayer