OTTAWA – The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) released the findings of two independent reports that were commissioned by the service to address issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion today (Nov. 20).
The Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project Report II and the Diversity Audit were completed earlier this month and are part of the agenda for the Nov. 25 Ottawa Police Services Board (OPSB) meeting.
“The reports contain difficult findings, but they also contain opportunities to address systemic barriers and make policing better for everyone – the community and our members,” OPS Chief Peter Sloly said. “Bias, racial profiling, and other forms of discrimination exist in society and that means they can exist in policing. These documents are proof for me that several substantive efforts have been underway to address community and member concerns.”
The Traffic Stop report shows that, while there are modest decreases in the high disproportionate rates since the last report, it also shows high disproportionate rates of black and middle eastern males being stopped.
The Diversity Audit shows that, while OPS is making progress in many areas such as outreach recruitment and Neighbourhood Resource Teams, there is still work to do on leadership and governance, policy, human resource management, promotional processes, and community policing and engagement.
“One of the reasons I came to the Ottawa Police Service was because I recognized OPS as a police leader on equity, diversity and inclusion. These reports provide our Service the information we need to improve,” Chief Sloly said. “This is an organizational responsibility. This community has our commitment that this organization will put in place the changes we need to improve our systems. These are not easy issues to face in any profession and I know that community comments and criticism are felt by frontline police officers first.”
The reports also detail the OPS commitment to develop an action plan with significant inputs that have been gathered from police and community partners.
As part of this work, an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan will be developed with community partners to identify and address bias, underperforming or non-performing systems like HR policies or like the deployment model and improve the felt or lived experience of the community.
“This plan and the change it will bring is as much to help the community as it is to assist our members do their jobs and serve our community in the most effective way possible,” added Chief Sloly. “We are going to continue to strive for professional and equitable policing. We have to work together to move from reports and recommendations to greater action. And together we’ll create a plan by January 2020 that measures our progress along the way.”
Three upcoming opportunities to have your say:
- Formal delegations will be accepted at the next Police Services Board Meeting on November 25th. Anyone wishing to speak can do so by registering with Krista Ferraro via Krista.email@example.com.
- Further feedback or input can be provided during the Human Rights Learning Forum on December 4th. Please register at www.ottawapolice.ca/race.
- Contacting Insp. Paul Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org by Jan. 2, 2020.
The two reports and the chief’s report to the board on these topics can be found online at www.ottawapolice.ca/race.