Student Challenge


The VPD Student Challenge Program began in 1997. The program is administered by the School Liaison Unit of the Youth Services Section; however, it also relies on police members from various sections who volunteer their time and effort to ensure the success of this annual program.

The Student Challenge Program is a nine-day “youth police academy,” which runs during the school Spring Break. From the several hundred applications received, 48 Grade 11 and 12 students from Vancouver area schools are selected to participate.

The program involves classroom work in areas such as legal studies, investigation and patrol, and human relations. Successful applicants will be involved in a rigorous physical training program, which includes the POPAT (Police Officer’s Physical Abilities Test), daily runs, team challenges, control tactics and drill instruction. Students also receive lectures and demonstrations from specially trained members such as, Dog Squad, Homicide Unit, Drug Unit, Forensic Identification Unit and other sections within the VPD.

Student Challenge

A brief description of some of the training includes:

Legal Studies - This forms the basis for every decision a police officer makes on a daily basis. Some of the topics covered are: Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Criminal Code of Canada, Liquor Control and Licensing Act, and Mental Health Act.

Investigation and Patrol - This prepares the students how to properly and safely handle patrol calls in scenario based situations. Instructions include police procedures and strategies, radio protocol, and officer safety.

Physical Training - This includes daily runs, the POPAT, control tactics, a timed run and other team challenges. A high level of fitness is required.

Specialty Squads - Students receive lectures and demonstrations from specialty units which will cover areas of evidence gathering and preservation, major case management, police dog functions, Emergency Response Team demonstration and traffic education.

Firearms Training - Students are taught firearm safety and handling. They are educated about various police firearms and less lethal weapons. This once-in-a-lifetime experience allows students to fire a variety of police firearms with one to one supervision at the new state of the art Force Options Tactical Training Centre.

Student ChallengeThe Student Challenge also includes a camp component At Loon Lake Lodge in Maple Ridge. Here, the students experience an exhilarating and exhausting schedule including reality based training scenarios, team challenges and patrol shift simulations.

The Student Challenge concludes with a graduation ceremony which is hosted at a Vancouver secondary school on the last day of the program. The students are presented with certificates recognizing their commitment and effort.

The continued success of this unique program is largely dependent on the generous donations from organizations such as the Vancouver Police Foundation. To date, 576 students have completed the Student Challenge. It’s estimated that approximately 20 past participants have been successful in pursuing a career in law enforcement. Others have gone onto volunteering with Community Crime Watch, Citizens’ Crime Watch and Community Policing Centres.


2020 Student Challenge

Quick Facts:

  • Nine-day police camp from March 14 to 22, 2020.
  • Applications for the 2020 Student Challenge are due Monday, November 4, 2020.

Please mail or drop off applications to the attention of:
School Liaison Unit
6th Floor
3585 Graveley Street
Vancouver, B.C.
Canada V5K 5J5

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Cst. Julie Birtch at julie.birtch@vpd.ca
or 778-952-5011.


Email: Cst. Jocelyn Deziel


Check out the videos from previous year's Challenges.

Hear From One of the Participants

Carmen took part in the 2013 Student Challenge. Read about her experience in her own words on her blog VPDSC.

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