Vancouver Police Chief in Halifax says 17% of force is diverse
By a Staff Reporter
The Chief Constable of the Vancouver Police was in Halifax on April 20. He was the guest speaker at the tenth annual Breakfast with a Fascinating Canadian fundraiser organized by the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.
Chief Constable Jim Chu shared his perspective on the role of immigration in creating strong communities. But he also shared the story of his own immigration to Canada in 1962 when he was a boy of three.
“My father wanted to leave communist China,” he said. “He was an entrepreneur—the kind the communist regime did not appreciate; the economy was a disaster and a famine was widespread at the time. So he approached the Canadian consulate and they welcomed us.”
In an interview with Touch BASE editor Robin Arthur, Chief Constable Chu said one of the challenges of policy in a multicultural society is to get the community to see themselves in the force. “When they see people of their colour and tradition, they know they will be treated fairly.
Responding to reports that there is often a cultural bias in the police force across Canada,, he said the vast majority see the Vancouver police force as fair.
“It’ been a very long time since anyone said the Vancouver police is racist,” he said. We are becoming a more diverse force. We did outreach among ethnic communities to sell the job. But meeting the standards is difficult and so not many qualify.”
The Vancouver police force may not have diversity that’s proportionate to the diversity in the population, but 17 per cent represent diverse groups and 23 per cent are women. “It does not exactly mirror the community,” he admitted.
Western Canada has a higher rate of crime per capita than that of the other regions, but the crime rate in Vancouver is higher than Ontario or Montreal.
“That’s because of drug addiction which impacts on the rate of property crime. There are approximately 50,000 crimes a year that we deal with in the city,” Chief Constable Chu said.
Police agencies across Canada are increasingly embracing the concept that prevention is better than incarceration. “Within the force we are trying to make our constable Peace Officers,” he said.
Asked to comment on what percentage of those in the criminal justice system are visible minorities, Chief Constable Chu said: “We don’t capture those statistics.”