(Victoria Police Chief Del Manak/Photo by Brishti Basu)

VicPD and Victoria city council have been at odds with each other over the last couple of months over the tentative city budget for 2023.

The latest issue between the duo has been that the late-night policing program has been cut in what is being seen as a mishap or a miscommunication between city staff, city council and VicPD.

VicPD has been asking for a budgetary increase of 9.55%, despite the City of Victoria telling them no city department will be getting more than a 7% increase to keep their budgets in line with inflation.

The city asked for them to keep their budget to 7% primarily so that the taxpayers of Victoria won’t bear the burden of the extra money VicPD is requesting.


While these disputes continue between the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board and city council, the late-night policing program was cut without warning. This item has been a permanent fixture of VicPD’s budget since 2009.

On February 17th, City of Victoria staff proposed a $220,000 budget cut to “business and community relations”, which serves a number of purposes of which VicPD’s late-night policing program was just one.

“I did not receive any official notification from city staff that this item was subject to a proposed cut,” Chief Manak told Victoria Buzz. “I heard through the grapevine from one of our staff that city staff had recommended this line item be cut from the 2023 budget.”

At the time of this cut being approved, councillors admit, they did not know that VicPD’s late-night policing program was a part of this.

The late-night policing program consists of four additional officers patrolling downtown Victoria’s bars, nightclubs and streets to ensure that people are conducting themselves in a way that makes everyone around them feel safe. 

On March 2nd, Chief Manak appeared before council to explain the benefits of the late-night policing program and believed he proficiently got his view of the program’s importance across to council members.

“I talked about how having a highly visible police presence allows us to proactively mitigate many disturbances, violent behavior, aggressive behaviour, really preventing many assaults happening, fights happening, even sex assaults and impaired drivers,” said Manak.

Chief Manak also expressed that gang members coming to Victoria from the Lower Mainland has been a rising concern for VicPD and the late-night officers help to intervene in potentially dangerous situations. 

“I later heard from the city that this item has been cut,” said Manak. “So I followed up with the city manager and the mayor.”

“I was actually quite shocked that after listening to my justification and advocating for this funding to remain, that council members would vote to reduce funding.”

“The return on investment for the $220,000 is off the charts,” added Manak.

Despite his presentation, the program was indeed cut just before St. Patrick’s Day on March 16th. 

“They cut this item at the 11th hour, essentially pulling the rug out from under my feet,” said Manak. “I can’t add it to my 2023 budget, that ship has sailed, months and months ago.”

Chief Manak explained that he can’t add the $220,000 to his 2023 budget at this point in the deliberation between the council and the Police Board. The funds that were cut are specifically paid for by Victorians separate from the overall budget that the Township of Esquimalt is also responsible for paying.

Since the police program was part of the cuts, some city council members have assured Victorians that they will put forth a motion to reinstate the program in VicPD’s budget for 2023 at the next opportunity.

“Now I’m hearing from council members that they’re willing to reconsider their position because they didn’t realize the item they cut was the late night task force,” said Manak. 

“I’m encouraged to hear that a number of them support this in order to maintain public safety.”

City Councillor Matt Dell tweeted that he was unaware this program was a part of the community relations item, which was voted on to cut in February, but he will work to get it back in the budget.

Currently, Victoria’s city council is on a break and won’t return to council chambers until April 6th when Chief Manak said he will be given an opportunity to reiterate the value he sees in the program.