City of Vancouver seeks bodyguards and 'protection'

Security deal may cost $14.75 million

The City of Vancouver is shopping for a broad security services package that includes bodyguards.

The five-year, integrated security services contract was advertised Dec. 16 with a Jan. 24 bid deadline. Burnaby-based incumbent Concord Security Corporation is vying for another term.

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That is a bit tight, I agree. Its nothing we had any input on, said Concord chief operating officer Rob Davis about the deadline.

NPA Coun. George Affleck said the Feb. 1 target date to begin the new contract could repel bidders.

Thats the first indicator that, you know what, they probably arent looking that seriously, Affleck said. That being said, the city is required to get three bids.

The request for proposals for the estimated $14.75 million deal says services may be provided to any or all of Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver Police, Vancouver Fire and Rescue, Vancouver Park Board, EasyPark, Community Services, Engineering and Business Planning and Services. The city hall campus has separate staff patrols.

Services include uniformed guarding, mobile patrols, alarm monitoring and response, security equipment and systems, investigations, locksmiths and executive protection.

The July 7, 2006-released RFP for the original contract also included executive protection, but it does not appear in the staff report recommending low-bidder Concord to the Oct. 31, 2006 meeting of Mayor Sam Sullivans NPA majority council.

Executive protection is unusual in the Metro Vancouver area for municipalities, it doesnt mean things are changing, said Davis. To what level the protection is varies significantly between clients.

A request to interview city manager Penny Ballem was not fulfilled. Spokeswoman Wendy Stewart said the city can opt for bodyguard service if there is a threat or risk to a senior city official.

It was not put in to address a specific issue that had taken place and, thankfully, the service has never been used, Stewart said.

Concord was among five companies that responded in 2006 and was paid $599,037 in 2007 and $1,900,977 in 2008. Concord received $3,511,361 in 2009 when coverage expanded to include the park board. In 2010, the most recent year reported, Concord got $4,954,781. Meanwhile the cost of policing the city grew from $189,268,000 in 2007 to $233,022,000 in 2010.

Senior Ottawa police officers who reviewed the ill-fated Stanley Cup fan zone last summer criticized Concord, which provided 60 guards under its existing civic contract. The review said they were not trained to conduct bag checks or pat down searches.

The lack of training for Concorde (sic) staff was one of several factors that led to inconsistent site security in the areas that hosted Game 7 festivities downtown, said the report.

Davis said Concord hired an undisclosed third-party to conduct an external review.

Meanwhile, city hall also issued a tender Dec. 16 for the supply and delivery of a multipurpose command vehicle to be the Vancouver Police mobile command post.

Deadline for firms wanting to design and build a truck chassis with a mounted truck body is Jan. 24. Vancouver Police Foundation pledged $500,000. It would cost $58,900 a year to operate.

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