VANCOUVER Mayor Kennedy Stewart praised Thursday’s report from the Province’s Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act and urged the Government of B.C. to move quickly in adopting its recommendations.
“Everybody deserves to feel safe. That is why in June of 2020 I called upon the Province to conduct a comprehensive review of policing to address concerns around systemic racism, mental health, and community accountability,” said Stewart. “Today, the Committee issued a bold series of recommendations that do just that and they must be implemented without delay.”
The Committee’s number one recommendation was to create a new “Community Safety and Policing Act” rooted in decolonization, anti-racism, community, and accountability, drafted in collaboration with Indigenous peoples nations, and municipal governments.
Stewart presented to the Special Committee and called for a number of important reforms including:
* Ensure policing organisations mirror the diversity of their communities
* Collect race-based and other demographic data to help tackle systemic racism
* Create new non-police options to mental health calls including through the 911 system
* Indigenous-led policies and goals for police
* A single Metro Vancouver Police Department to better tackle crime
He said many of the Special Committee’s recommendations responded to his concerns including:
● 2c: Amalgamating police services on a regional basis
● 3: Ensure all Indigenous communities have direct input
● 4: Create and appropriately fund…mental health, addictions and other complex social issues
● 4a: Coordination and integration across police, health, mental health, and social services
● 4b: Integrating mental health within 911 call options.
● 7a: Ensuring police…are representative of the diversity of the communities served
● 8: Collect and publicly report disaggregated race-based and other demographic data
The Committee specifically spoke to the lack of municipal oversight recommending new council representation on police boards.
“I want to especially thank Committee members for acknowledging clear evidence of systemic racism and discrimination and calling for increases in financial support for complex care, mental health and addictions,” said Stewart.
“All of our public institutions, including those tasked with public safety, are shaped by Canada’s harmful colonial legacy. I hope these recommendations help to address these harms, tackle systemic racism, and moves society where all of us – no matter who you are – feels safe.”