‘Cop-Watch’ Twitter Account Angers Vancouver Police

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A Twitter account run by volunteers in Vancouver, British Columbia, aimed at creating accountability for cops has attracted the ire of the Vancouver Police Department.

D.T.E.S. Cop Watch aims to monitor police activity and expose brutality in the notoriously crime-ridden downtown eastside (DTES) neighbourhood.

Run by volunteers, the Twitter account allows residents to keep track of and observe police, ensuring officers have a constant audience that holds them liable for their actions in confrontations.

Vancouver cops, though, are not fans of the Twitter account. Social media spokeswoman Constable Anne Longley calls it a safety concern.

She told the Province:

We don’t want people to be hesitant to call police, thinking their location or information is going to be put out on Twitter.

Cop Watch DTES volunteer Jen Allan disagrees. She is one of three people with administrative access to the account.

The purpose is to take people on a live experience of a cop watch patrol. The whole goal is to hold police accountable, expose brutality and advocate on behalf of others.

She added that Cop Watch would stop tweeting police officers’ locations “when they stop beating and abusing members of the DTES”.

The neighbourhood, called Canada’s “poorest postal code”, is well-known for its high rate of drug use, prostitution, poverty and violence.

It comprises the Chinatown, Gastown, Oppenheimer Park, Thornton Park and Victory Square districts.

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