Since the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota, the issues of systemic racism and police brutality have been thrust into the spotlight.
Tuesday night, the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board looked at ways to deal with those issues.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps presented a motion saying a recent “people-less protest” at Centennial Square, and Sunday’s Black Lives Matter rally was powerful and peaceful.
Helps says there were two key messages “to those of us at the rally and who are white and therefore carry privilege”.
“We need to think about what we can do in our various roles,” Helps said in her motion.
“And we need to be willing to have difficult and uncomfortable conversations. These are the responsibilities that our privilege carries with it.”
Helps presented the following four recommendations, what she called a “starting point” that the police board passed unanimously:
- Request that the Chair and/or citizen members of the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Committee present to the board on a regular basis over the next six months in public Police Board meetings with their ideas and recommendations for improvements at the Victoria Police Department.
- That the Board request the Chief to present at the public Board meeting in July a comprehensive list of the bias awareness, anti-racism, cultural sensitivity and de-escalation training that members of the Victoria Police Department currently receive and his recommendation for additional training and awareness raising opportunities.
- That the demographic analysis of the Victoria Police Department be undertaken in order to understand how the composition of VicPD in terms of black, Indigenous, people of colour and women measures against the composition of the general population. This will give us a baseline and show us where there is room for focus in recruiting.
- That the Chief make any other recommendations to the Board for its consideration to address racism and discrimination.
Helps says more information will be released Wednesday.