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Harvie stepping down as police board chair

At Wednesday’s Police Board meeting, Harvie told the board that he will step down as chair
Delta Mayor George Harvie
Mayor George Harvie has announced that he is stepping down as chair of the Delta Police Board.

The ink was barely dry on the B.C. government’s announcement regarding police boards, when Delta Mayor George Harvie said he’ll be stepping down as chairman.

At Wednesday’s Police Board meeting, Harvie told the board that he will step down as chair.

Last Thursday, the government said it was introducing changes to the Police Act to allow city councils to decide which councillor can sit on a police board.

As well, members of the police board itself will be able to decide who serves as chair and vice-chair of the board.

Up until now, the mayor of each city was automatically named as chair of the police board.

Harvie was part of the UBCM Police Act review and said he always spoke against the requirement for mayors to chair police boards in their cities.

“I also strongly supported more elected officials being on B.C. police boards in order to protect the financial interests of the city,” he said in a letter to Delta council.

He added that he’ll leave it up to council to select a representative to sit on the Delta Police Board.

“In closing, I strongly believe that the partnership the city has with the Delta Police Board will remain strong and the DPD will continue being national leaders in policing,” Harvie said.

Other changes to the Police Act include allowing the police complaint commissioner to call a public hearing earlier in police misconduct investigations and to do reviews of the causes and contributors of police complaints.

Two other more minor changes are updating the regulations around police uniforms and changing the language used from “police force” to “police service.”

The changes follow recommendations made by the 2022 special committee on reforming the Police Act and the 2019 special committee to review the police complaint process.