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BC proposed plan released for “decolonized anti-racist” police force

BC proposed plan released for “decolonized anti-racist” police force

The Government of British Columbia created a special committee to revamp policing in B.C. by providing recommendations to legislate “decolonization and anti-racism” in to policing.

The special committee released a 96 page report titled “Transforming Policing and Community Safety in British Columbia” to change the Police Act at the end of April.

The focus of the plan is to implement “a new Community Safety and Policing Act to govern the provision of policing and public safety services based on values of decolonization and anti-racism.”

“Throughout the consultation, Members heard clear evidence of systemic racism in policing as well as the colonial structure of police services,” the report reads. 

“To address these issues, Members recommend including anti-racism and decolonization as values in a new Community Safety and Policing Act, implementing mandatory and ongoing anti-racism and cultural competency training that is delivered in a meaningful way.”

The committee reported “a total, 411 individuals and organizations made submissions and presentations to the Committee and 1,432 individuals responded to the survey.” during the review process.

“Decolonization” and “anti-racism” are concepts that assume organizations are systemically racist as a result of colonization and must be actively cleansed through measures that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Anti-racist practices come in many ways such as hiring people based on the colour of their skin, also known as race-based hiring. Another form is mandating training white people they have special privileges’ in life because the colour of their skin and was born white.

“A common theme in many submissions was defunding or reallocating funding from the police. Pivot Legal Society explained that defunding the police is not about dismantling safety, but rather about prioritizing the safety of marginalized communities in BC,” said the report’s authors. 

Earlier last week, when the British Columbia government unveiled its Anti-Racism Data Act, policing was mentioned. Premier John Horgan stated that revising the province’s police act will go hand-in-hand with anti-racism legislation when questioned why the act did not require officers to record race-based data during their operations.

“I believe that they all come together, which speaks again to process,” said Horgan. “There are lots of things to pack together and unpack in the colonial history of British Columbia.”

“Many individuals and organizations highlighted that police funding should be reallocated to social supports and evidence-based solutions to address these areas.”

The committee also reported they heard from the community, individuals and organizations the police don’t have enough money to provide the services they are tasked with.

“Some organizations noted that police services are underfunded, and decreased funding would hinder services” the report reads.

“The National Police Federation noted that over the past few years, the RCMP in BC has experienced significant cutbacks”

“the Committee heard from policing organizations as well as individuals currently or formerly involved in policing that they are underfunded and overworked as the police mandate has expanded but funding has not increased with this additional work”

This report comes after a rise in random stranger attacks and violent crimes in the province while the B.C. Government and City of Vancouver are trying to find solutions. Recently Vancouver Police have estimated Vancouver is seeing four random attacks per day.

Last week on Thursday, May 5, B.C. Attorney General David Eby announced an expert panel to investigate the matter. 

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