Skip to content

Delta calling for immediate action on port security

City releases detailed report on the urgent need for port policing
The City of Delta released a detailed report Thursday calling on immediate action from the federal government to reinstate a dedicated port policing unit. Photo courtesy City of Delta

Port policing is needed now according to a detailed report released by the City of Delta and Delta Police Thursday.

With the ongoing security challenges facing the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s

Roberts Bank Terminal handling more than three million containers annually, Mayor George Harvie has been advocating for funding and resources to enhance security at the port.

Delta engaged Peter German & Associates to conduct an extensive research study to examine the issues surrounding port policing in Delta and elsewhere in B.C.

National security and the inflow and outflow of illicit drugs, guns, and contraband are among the major challenges. The report reveals the lack of coherent security measures, an infiltration of organized crime, challenges with controlling access to ports by individuals, a reduction in necessary policing resources, the need for uniformed police presence, and a call for integrated policing.

“We are in a fentanyl crisis…this is open season to have it all come in through the Port of Vancouver,” said Harvie. “I fully support Canada Border Services that are there right now, but they are totally understaffed, totally underfunded…they can only do so much. This needs another look by the Prime Minister and the ministers responsible. They need to take action and re-establish a port police program in all ports across Canada, but our focus of course is here at Deltaport.”

As part of his efforts to seek government support and collaboration on this issue, Harvie

met with federal ministers in Ottawa this week to highlight the urgent need for strategic

government action to address port security and preserve the integrity of national security.

“Typically in Ottawa you get a blank stare and a lot of the ministers I met with the exception of our MP, they didn’t even know there wasn’t port police,” said Harvie. “I don’t blame them for that, I blame their staffers for not keeping them informed. I will be following up with a letter to the Prime Minister. As well, I have the support of all Metro Vancouver mayors. This is not just a Delta, or Lower Mainland issue, this is a national security issue.”

Since the disbandment of the Ports Canada Police in 1997, responsibility for port security has been fragmented among various entities, creating a complex web of oversight. This intricate situation has relied on local municipal police, various task forces, and the RCMP, but it lacks a dedicated police force solely committed to safeguarding the ports.

Delta Police Chief Neil Dubord said the report is clear – it’s vital for a dedicated port police force.

“I respect Mayor Harvie and his tremendous leadership on this. My role now is to bring in my police partners on this,” he said. “Chief Adam Palmer [Vancouver Police] has a copy of this report and we both believe there needs to be a dedicated police force. I’ll be speaking with the Public Safety Minister in Ottawa and work with our partners in the RCMP to see if the Federal Serious Organized Crime Unit can have funding to ensure they are fully staffed. I want to play a role in advancing this report and getting action.”