Policing poverty in Victoria

People forced to live on the streets in Victoria are being targeted by the police and are subject to unnecessary force and frequent arrest without sufficient cause, according to a report by the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group.

This study set out to explore the social costs of policing poverty by documenting the experiences and perspectives of members of the Victoria street community with regards to policing in Victoria, BC.

According to VIPIRG, cuts to health services and income supports for people living in poverty, including those with disabilities involving mental health and illicit drug use, have contributed to a situation where police now act as de facto “first responders” to health-related issues on city streets. The costs of policing poverty are high, and are not limited to the financial costs of spending more on approaches that do not work.

You can read the whole report on VIPIRG's website.