The West Vancouver Police Board is the civilian body to which the West Vancouver Police Department is accountable. The Board is a statutory body created by the British Columbia Police Act to oversee policing in the District of West Vancouver. The Board is comprised of the Mayor as Chair and six civilians appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Council for the Province of British Columbia.
The Board is the employer of the police and represents the community at large. The Board provides a link between the community and the police with a mandate to balance the requirements of public accountability with those of police independence. The Board acts as an intermediary body between the police and municipal government. The Board’s authority of general governance of the West Vancouver Police Department derives from Part 5 the BC Police Act. The members of the Board make decisions as a statutory body.
Under the BC Police Act, the Board performs four main governance functions: employer of all sworn and civilian police department staff, including the Chief of Police; establishment of policing priorities and policies that set direction for the Police Department; primary financial oversight for the Department; authority for service and policy complaints against the Department, and the disciplinary authority for complaints against the Chief Constable.
The Police Board issues directions to the Police Department through the Chief Constable which must be consistent with the statutory duties and responsibilities of the Chief Constable under the BC Police Act. In general terms, the Board has the authority to make policy decisions and the Chief Constable has the authority to render all operational decisions.
The BC Police Act preserves the Chief’s independence to uphold the law, to manage the police service and to provide police service to the community. At the same time, the Chief is accountable to the Board for the operation of the police service and the manner in which the Chief’s responsibilities are carried out.