11/27/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/27/2019 07:41
The Nova Scotia RCMP recognizes the need to build trust and accountability and is committed to strengthening our relationship with African Nova Scotian communities.
'We have heard from community members, particularly African Nova Scotians, and we acknowledge that we need to do more to enhance public trust.' says Chief Superintendent Janis Gray. 'Addressing street checks and the Wortley Report recommendations together with African Nova Scotian community members and our partners, including the Department of Justice, the Halifax Board of Police Commissioners and our policing partners, is one step of many we are taking towards ensuring our interactions with the communities we serve promotes public confidence.'
The Nova Scotia RCMP has taken action on a number of recommendations in the Wortley Report and is actively working on others. 'Our focus is on creating a way forward where we come together to discuss what our next actions should be. The way forward will include input from African Nova Scotian community members across the province as well as our employees to ensure we make lasting changes that are culturally responsive.'
Educating our employees will remain a priority and we will continue to explore opportunities to build upon what we are doing. For several years the Nova Scotia RCMP has been educating employees on the African Nova Scotian community and bias-free policing. In recent years the RCMP has expanded this training and provides a five-day African Canadian Experience (ACE) workshop to focus on history, discrimination, human rights and other topics that assist in our understanding of the obstacles and circumstances faced by those in the African Nova Scotian and African Canadian communities. The workshop also discusses aspects of history, both the successes and challenges, that have shaped the relationships between police and the African Nova Scotian community, and how to continue to foster positive relationships for the future. 'As part of continued development we will work more with leaders and agencies within the African Nova Scotian community because this is where much of our learning occurs.'
Across Nova Scotia officers are building relationships with people in the community, setting up sports games, showing up at local events, volunteering their time and forming friendships with local business owners and respected leaders. 'We have a solid foundation in community policing and acknowledge we can build upon this because it is always a work in progress. We look forward to coming together and having discussions about how we can make improvements.'
Working together to address the recommendations and establish a way forward is an important step for the RCMP toward better serving African Nova Scotians and all community members.