April 4, 2024

Why aren’t Transit Police officers located at every transit hub?

At Transit Police, we often get asked why we can’t have officers posted at every SkyTrain station, or why Transit Police officers don’t regularly ride all major bus routes. The answer is that this is not realistic as our officers respond to calls for service across all modes of transit spread across over 1800 km2, from Bowen Island to White Rock to the West Coast Express station in Mission. This includes SkyTrain (55 Stations), West Coast Express (8 Stations), SeaBus (2 Terminals) and buses (200+ bus routes plus bus stops/exchanges). Some simple arithmetic can help provide context.

We have an authorized/budgeted strength of 183 sworn police officers.

From those 183, some placements are taken up by:

  • Vacancies – not all of our positions are filled and we are currently hiring. If you’d like to join us, you can learn more here
  • Leadership team – a number of officers are on our senior leadership team. This includes the Transit Police Chief Officer, two Deputy Chiefs and several Inspectors.
  • Specialty units – these are officers who are assigned to areas such as recruitment, professional standards or investigations.

Of the officers that remain:

  • Divide them into four patrol squads.
  • Subtract officers who are sick, in training or on leave.

Of the officers on patrol duty, some may be otherwise occupied:

  • As part of their response to a police incident, officers will be busy completing the necessary paperwork or conducting investigative follow-up.
  • If a mental health apprehension has taken place, officers will need to remain at the hospital until people in their custody are assessed by doctors.
  • Other officers will be working on special projects based on reports we receive from the public and identified trends in crime and disorder.

So, how do we ensure such a large transit network stays safe?

Transit Police officers are deployed strategically, based on where crime statistics and intelligence reports tell us they are most needed. We work closely with our municipal policing partners to provide seamless policing across the region, with a focus on our four operational priorities:

Recently, we have also been giving attention to the ongoing opioid crisis and Lower Mainland gang conflict.

If you need Transit Police during your transit journey, please let us know. We can be reached 24/7 by phone at 604.515.8300 or by text at 87.77.77 (always call 911 in an emergency).

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