The City of Vancouver manages 600 booking requests for events each year, many of which require VPD resources to manage safely. These range from large, planned events, like the Celebration of Light, to numerous unplanned protests and demonstrations, and some of the types of events listed below:

  • marches, parades, walks, runs
  • demonstrations, protests (see below)
  • festivals, concerts
  • VIP visits
  • ceremonial and fund raising events
  • sporting events
  • late night dance events
  • filming
  • construction

If you are planning an event, you begin by submitting an application to City Hall. You will find all the information you need in their Special Event Permitting Handbook.

Once your event has been approved, a police planner from our Operational Planning Unit will arrange the necessary police resources and create a policing plan for the event.

The VPD Emergency Operations and Planning Section is responsible for planning and staffing any events that are outside regular policing services and resources. This includes special municipal police officers that may be needed for traffic control.

The person, business, or community organization that is planning the event is responsible for getting all applicable permits required from the City and/or the Parks Board.

Policing services for your event

VPD Planning staff work Monday to Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 4 p.m., and they do not monitor emails outside of those hours. We need a minimum of two business days for requests, and a minimum of 30 days for major events.

Changes in legislation, legal requirements, risk management, accountability, worldwide events, and complex social issues have made policing in Vancouver more challenging in recent years. We will always prioritize public safety when assessing requests for police resources. For instance, a large public event like the Celebration of Light or a demonstration will take precedence over a filming or construction request.

The officers providing policing services for an event do not perform tasks that are not core police functions, and they do not take direction from anyone acting on behalf of the organizer of the event. Organizers must have sufficient marshals or security to manage the event. Police are there to support and intervene if they believe a criminal offence has or could occur.

These events typically take place within the city of Vancouver, but exceptions may include events on the University of BC endowment lands and/or Ministry of Transportation permits for highways.

We may every effort to fulfill requests, however, this is not guaranteed. Major events taking place in peak summer months will be given priority, as public safety is paramount.

To book a Vancouver Police Department officer, email our Emergency Operations and Planning Section at eops@vpd.ca.

Booking

We will need the following information to book a member:

  • Date of event, along with start and end time for the officer(s)
  • Location of the event, including the exaction location where you want our officer(s) to report
  • Contact name and cell phone number of person the officer(s) will report to on the day of the event
  • Any special instructions about their duties
  • City of Vancouver Film & Special Event Office and/or Parks Board approval and support documentation

Billing

Special event policing services are provided on a cost-recovery basis. We need the following:

  • Organization/client name and main contact (some organizations/promoters/film productions may be required to pre-pay for police services)
  • Billing address
  • Telephone and fax numbers
  • Email address

Cost

Charge-out rates 2021 hourly rate (*subject to change)
Special Municipal Constable (Traffic Authority) $61.40
Constable $139.51
Sergeant $174.40
Staff Sergeant $195.32

Special Municipal Constables (traffic control) – After eight consecutive hours in a shift, the charge rate is at one-and-a-half per hour. After 23 consecutive hours in a shift, the charge rate is at double. A four-hour minimum applies.

A three-hour minimum applies to police constables, sergeants, and staff sergeants.

All charge-out rates include the cost of equipment and police vehicles.

The policing plan for each event is unique; Emergency Operations planners take into consideration many factors, such as location, demographics, prior event history, purpose of the event, risk assessment, and public safety to determine appropriate staffing levels. We will work with you to understand your needs and to ensure you have a safe and successful event.

Please note: We will make all efforts for traffic control to be done by special municipal constables, but high demand and shortages may mean that traffic control will be done with regular constables at the rates indicated.

Cancellation of VPD members

We have a two-business-day cancellation policy in effect. If you cancel a VPD member within 24 hours of an event, the officer is still entitled to a three-hour minimum charge, which will be billed back to your business or organization.

The cancellation must be done directly with an Emergency Operations Planner. A cancellation is only considered accepted by our Emergency Operations and Planning Section if we were contacted directly by telephone or if we have sent you an email confirmation.

Cancellations can be made by email at eops@vpd.ca.

$500 Grant to Offset Policing Costs

The VPD may offer a $500 grant to non-profit organizations and events to offset policing costs incurred during a special event.

Event organizers must go through the application process and meet with the FEST Committee to qualify for the grant.

Pop-up: If you are serving liquor at an event in any private or public location, except a private home, you will need a Special Occasion Licence.

The Vancouver Police Department supports people exercising their democratic rights and freedoms through lawful protest. To support these rights, we have a dedicated unit known as the Planning Assessment Team, which is part of our Emergency Operational Planning Section.

The VPD assess 500 to 600 events in Vancouver every year to determine the appropriate police resources needed to ensure the safety and security of protestors, the general public, and first responders. The VPD has a good reputation in dealing with these incidents, which often requires discussion and understanding between the team, and protest groups and organizers.

If you are looking to organize a protest or have questions about how protests are handled, please email protests@vpd.ca and one of our Planning Assessment Team members will get back to you.

Permits not required for protests

You do not need a permit from the VPD or the City of Vancouver to hold a protest. Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms sets out the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of peaceful assembly.

The VPD does not reserve a space or specific location for your protest

It is your legal right to protest, however, there can be times where several groups are at the same location. We ask that you respect other people’s legal right to protest as well, and work to share the same space.

There may be times where non-protest related events have been booked and paid for by certain companies at various locations, such as film crews. We can advise protest organizers if a specific location has been booked once we are contacted.

Protests during the COVID-19 pandemic

Most protest organizers enforce the use of masks and physical distancing, and some even have stations set up for additional masks and hand sanitizer. Please ensure you are up to date on the latest orders from the Provincial Health Officer put into place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Enforcement of COVID-19-related provincial health orders

The VPD is exercising discretion in the enforcement of public health orders, which is an important part of our criminal justice system that involves many factors. Please note that this does not allow you any special privileges at a protest. If you are contravening the public health order, you may be issued a ticket.

If protestors break the law  

Supporting lawful protest does not include allowing people to commit crime, and often the rights of demonstrators collide with the rights of others. Discretion is necessary for each unique situation.

Note: For more information on how police officers respond to protests, you can view the VPD’s public demonstration guidelines.

Contact Us

To advise us of a protest, or for any questions regarding protests in the city of Vancouver, please email protests@vpd.ca.

One of the PAT team members will get back to you as soon as possible.

The City of Vancouver requires film companies to have police present during filming to ensure guidelines are followed and that filming takes place in a safe and non-disruptive manner.

Film companies are billed by the City for police services, and police presence may be required as a condition of granting the filming permit.

Traffic control

Only the VPD or others designated by the VPD have authority for traffic control duties. Police must be on location for:

  • road closures (temporary or long-term)
  • temporary lockups
  • any filming that will affect or interfere with vehicular or pedestrian traffic unless authority has been given to block and detour
  • any other situation where public safety is a concern

Production assistants

Production assistants may control pedestrian traffic on sidewalks, and the VPD allows them to control lane traffic within an area that is currently being locked down by police. They may also assist in quiet residential areas, but this must be pre-approved and will be indicated in instructions provided by the VPD.

Firearms and gunfire

Any gunfire audible to the public, or firearms visible to the public (whether fired or not) requires a police officer to be in attendance. This regulation is due to potential 911 calls and the resulting drain on patrol strength.

To minimize the impact to surrounding neighbourhoods, only quarter load ammunition will be used to simulate gunfire.

Stunts and special effects

All stunts and special effects must be approved by police and the Film and Special Events Office. Larger stunts will include police during planning stages. Stunts must not involve regular vehicular or pedestrian traffic, and must be completed in an area where the public has no access (i.e. lockup or barricaded).

All fires (larger than garbage can fires) and explosions must have a permit from the Fire Warden. Larger fires will require the fire department on scene. The Fire Warden’s permit may be subject to inspection by police. It will include hours permitted and any other details deemed applicable.

Request procedure

After receiving application approval from the City of Vancouver, requests for police assistance should be made to the VPD’s Emergency and Operation Planning Section (EOPS) at (604) 717-3081 a minimum of two working days prior to the required time. The information required to process the request includes:

  • number of officers anticipated, if any (subject to police review)
  • date and time (start and end)
  • meeting location
  • description of the exact duties the police officers are expected to perform

Use of police equipment and personnel

The permission of the Chief Constable is required if a film production company wishes to film police personnel, police vehicles, equipment, and uniforms. The request must be submitted in writing to the Chief Constable. All pertinent details of the scenes involved including that portion of the script involving the police department, as well as a brief outline of the story being told on film, is required.

For more information, contact the VPD’s Emergency and Operation Planning Section (EOPS) at (604) 717-3081.

Vancouver Film and Special Events Office

Visit the Vancouver Film and Special Events Office website for complete information on filming in Vancouver.