Police Commission Approves Race-Based Data Collection Strategy

The strategy hopes to eliminate systemic racism in policing, promote transparency and accountability, and build trust among black and other racialized and Indigenous communities in policing, the report says.

The Waterloo Regional Police Services Board voted on Wednesday to approve the Race-Based Data Collection Strategy (RBDC) to help build a safer and more inclusive region.

The goal of the strategy is to collect, examine and disaggregate race-based data to identify racial and related disparities in police-civilian interactions.

Goals of the strategy include eliminating systemic racism in the delivery of policing, promoting transparency and accountability, and building confidence in policing among Black and other racialized and Indigenous communities. throughout Waterloo Region.

This will involve working with members of the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS), community members and the policing community to better understand the context behind the data.

The WRPS entered into a three-year academic partnership with Dr. Lorne Foster and Dr. Les Jacobs to support the Service’s implementation of a race-based data collection strategy in January. Dr. Amanda Williams joined WRPS as a Data, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Analyst in March to support the RBDC strategy.

The strategy and partnership evolved in response to the Anti-Racism Act, a provincial law passed in 2017 that requires institutions, like police, to collect race-based data to measure, monitor and address systemic racism.

Police have collected and released data on intelligence memos and use of force in an attempt to address systemic racism in the service, as required by the province.

“Racism and discrimination is a long-standing problem in all of our systems, including police, justice, health, education, etc. The policing community is taking active action and a leadership role,” Williams said at Wednesday’s board meeting.

“Focusing on the organization rather than individuals will have the greatest impact on behavior change. We use data to examine problems and solutions. It is a forward-looking approach that seeks to change the underlying factors that contribute to the disparities,” Williams said.

Williams said the change in environment and change in policy resulted in the biggest change in behavior across the organization.

“A human rights-based approach promotes high quality data and dialogue. Everyone, including members of the community, police officers and other agencies, can help address issues and find solutions to create a roadmap that will seek to eliminate racism and discrimination,” Williams said. .

“We value community feedback. Sharing reliable results will result in actionable insights that address the issues of most concern to the community.”

The strategy is important for improving transparency and accountability in the delivery of policing services and is needed to continue to build community trust and engagement.

The patterns observed in the data will help determine the extent of the problem and whether individuals with particular social identities are disproportionately represented.

It will also help determine training needs and track service delivery approaches that work in different communities and serve as a starting point for conversations with the community and WRPS members to build trust, accountability and trust. transparency.

“We are in partnership with the EDI unit and we were looking forward to the arrival of Geraldine Stafford. She will play a leading role in our race-based data collection strategy,” said Karen Redman, chair of the Waterloo Regional Police Services Board.

The Waterloo Regional Police Service’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Unit was launched in 2017 and began to lead the service in actively pursuing a diverse and inclusive workforce, as well as creating results fair to members of the community.

After extensive research, Geraldine Stafford has been selected as the new manager of the Waterloo Regional Police Service EDI Unit.

I am so excited about the progressive nature of Waterloo Regional Police Services. I parachuted into something so awesome. I’m thrilled to be a part of it and to be an agent of change,” Stafford said.

Implementing the WRPS RBCC Strategy is a goal of the 2021-2023 Strategic Business Plan, intended to increase transparency and community trust using data and technology. The strategy is also aligned with the EDI 2020-2022 plan by demonstrating a commitment to full community engagement and diversity development.

The Commission recognizes that the collection, analysis and reporting of race-based data is necessary to assess whether there is fair and equitable treatment within police services.

Other police services in the province are also developing similar strategies.

“It’s really exciting,” Redman said.

“If other police boards are doing this too, then we’ll be able to compare and contrast and chart our progress on a larger scale, so that’s good to hear.”

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