Vancouver Police to Directly Bill Promoters of Unsanctioned Shows

Vancouver Police to Directly Bill Promoters of Unsanctioned Shows
Vancouver has a reputation for making life difficult for members of its arts scene — something that was the focus of the 2010 documentary No Fun City. Now, Vancouver police are clamping down even further by announcing that they will now directly bill promoters of unsanctioned events for policing costs.

As the Province reports, those who promote and organize unsanctioned festivals, raves and underground shows could find themselves saddled with a bill if the police are called in. In the past, the Vancouver police department never previously tried to recoup expenses from a promoter of an unsanctioned event, making this a new policy for the force. 

According to police, if an emergency call comes in from an unsanctioned gathering, the police will often over-deploy officers because they don't know the risks. This can be expensive for taxpayers, since a single unsanctioned event could end up costing the city as much as $10,000 in police manpower.

"It's expensive, and if we don't know how many people are going, we can't staff in advance," said police spokesman Sgt. Randy Fincham. "And it leaves the taxpayer on the hook for something that we could have staffed appropriately."

The police will not be retroactively seeking money for past events, but this will be the policy going forward.

"We are not actively looking at going after past event promoters, although not completely out of the question," said Fincham. "Going forward, we feel that it is appropriate to advise a would-be promoter that they may be on the hook if a large-scale police presence is required to manage their crowd."

This decision comes shortly after police were called in when a 23-year-old man died in what was apparently an unlicensed rave in Stanley Park on May 22. The man fell off a cliff in what is believed to be an accident. In also comes in the wake of recent events like 4/20 and the May Day festival.