Bollard alert: Security ramped up outside VPD headquarters

© Global News

(Global News)-Visitors to the Vancouver Police Department’s headquarters on Cambie Street will notice that several bollards are now in place outside the front of the building.

The 22 concrete barriers were installed earlier this week and have been in the works for over a year as safety upgrades, said Const. Tania Visintin, who confirmed the department has not received any direct threats.

The bollards are not only to protect police officers and civilian employees but also members of the public who enter the VPD building.

“Not to mention what has been going on all over the world the last decade,” added Visintin.

Read more: ‘Vehicular attacks’ a trend, Canadian intelligence report says

Vehicle-ramming attacks have been extremely deadly in recent years, particularly in Europe although Canada has not been immune.

In Sept. 2017, a man stabbed a police officer and ran over four pedestrians in a U-Haul cube van in Edmonton. Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, 33, was later sentenced to a total of 28 years in prison for the attacks which occurred hours apart in separate locations of the city.

Closing arguments are currently underway at trial in the horrific Toronto van attack incident where a driver plowed into pedestrians on April 23, 2018, killing 10 people and injuring 16 others.

Read more: Deadly vehicle attacks: What can other cities teach Toronto about protecting pedestrians?

Alek Minassian admitted to planning and carrying out the attack but has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 of attempted murder, because his defence team argues he is not criminally responsible for his actions due to his autism spectrum disorder.

Minassian’s state of mind at the time is the only issue at trial, and the central question in the case is whether he knew it was morally wrong to kill.

Toronto has since set up concrete barriers around Union Station — a high traffic area — in order to ramp up security.

Visintin said each of the VPD buildings has its own safety guard, not specifically the same bollards, but other security measures.

The City of Vancouver told Global News that concrete barriers have not been installed at other civic properties or sites and that existing bollards at Robson Square and on Water Street are more “ornamental in nature”.

– With files from Katie Dangerfield and The Canadian Press