Vancouver Police Board approves new interim handcuff policy | CBC News

Vancouver police will begin implementing a new interim handcuff policy following board approval on Thursday.

According to a report from the Vancouver Police Board, for which it also consulted with an external party, the most notable changes are that it offers direction and documentation on how to safely use handcuffs and states that officers must have lawful authority to use them. 

This comes after multiple complaints to the Board, including one from Maxwell Johnson, who was handcuffed along with his 12-year-old granddaughter when they tried to open a bank account at a downtown Vancouver Bank of Montreal in 2019. 

Another complaint regarding handcuffing was filed in 2021, and in late May, the VPD wrongly handcuffed and detained a retired Black judge.

During a presentation to the police board on Thursday afternoon, Drazen Manojlovic, director of planning, research and audit with the VPD, said a significant part of the policy “entrenches” the fact that officers have the choice not to handcuff people, and that officers should use their discretion when it comes to the severity of the offence, as well as taking into consideration age, Indigeneity, race and disability of the individual.

“In the policy it clearly states that the use of handcuffs is a use of force,” he said. 

“Being placed in handcuffs by a police officer can be a deeply stressful event,” the policy states. “Members should, where practicable, seek to maintain the dignity of the arrested, detained, or apprehended person and take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances.”

The interim policy also says the use of handcuffs must be objectively reasonable in all circumstances, deemed necessary by the officer and proportionate to the risk of harm the officer is trying to prevent. 

A final policy will only be approved pending recommendations that may come from the Office of Police Complaints Commissioner conduct investigation and the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case involving Johnson’s case.

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