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Equity-deserving communities the focus of Kingston Police Report

Release Date: May 4, 2023


The Acting Chief of Kingston Police says a number of measures have been taken to improve relationships with equity-deserving populations since the release of a report last year documenting some of its practices. Please see here for a link to the report.


Among those measures will be redesigning the role of an officer dedicated to matters around Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) as well as a closer working relationship with the City of Kingston’s EDI office, established nearly two years ago.


Acting Chief Scott Fraser says that Kingston Police has worked for a number of years to incorporate more inclusive and diverse practices into its everyday work. However, he admits the report, compiled by Kingston Community Health Centres, an agency with a long history of supporting and responding to the needs of different populations, provided some much-needed direction.


“We knew we wanted to be a more equitable and inclusive organization but we also recognized we couldn’t do this on our own and who better to assist us on this important mission than KCHC,” said Acting Chief Fraser.


The report, entitled Kingston Speaks Inclusion, is based on five sessions with approximately 500 community members as well as conversations with 16 organizations and community groups over a period of two months in late 2021 and early 2022.


Acting Chief Fraser says Kingston Police recognize some of the findings are disturbing. For instance, a section entitled ‘unhoused, mental health and addictions,’ suggests police are ‘not trained or equipped to provide the proper supports to unhoused community members and community members living with mental health concerns and addictions, which has resulted in aggressive and violent interactions.’


Acting Chief Fraser points out that even prior to the undertaking with KCHC police have implemented programs that involve officers partnering with mental health workers to spend time with people who are unhoused, making efforts to find out what they need and looking for ways to support and assist vs taking a law-enforcement-based approach. The Kingston Police have also adopted a liaison team approach in order to resolve issues.


Elements of the report have been incorporated into the Kingston Police Strategic Plan, a document that lays out initiatives and projects planned into the future.


The report also targets the staff makeup of Kingston Police, stating the organization is made up of a ‘large representation by white men amongst police officers,’ and recommending the service reach out for ‘recruits with similar lived experiences as vulnerable populations (e.g. Indigenous, Black, racialized,, 2SLGBTQIA+).


“We are endeavouring to overhaul our hiring process and are doing everything we possibly can to attract people from equity-deserving communities,” says Acting Chief Fraser, admitting that although the service is largely white, an increasing number of staff are from different backgrounds. Included in job applications is a paragraph stating, “We are committed to ensuring an equitable process with the goal of achieving a representative workforce of the diverse community we serve. We are committed to supporting applicants with disabilities, including accommodating individual accessibility requirements.”


The report also calls for ‘increased transparency and greater accountability,’ on the part of Kingston Police and says some community members were reluctant to share feedback, concerned their calls for change would be ignored.


“We are taking this report and its findings very seriously and have extensively utilized suggested recommendations throughout our 2023-2026 Strategic Business Plan”, said Acting Chief Fraser. “We are committed to creating a more equitable and inclusive environment and continuing to learn from equity-deserving groups how to better serve the community.”

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Kingston Police
705 Division Street
Kingston, Ontario
K7K 4C2

Telephone: 613-549-4660
TTY (hearing impaired): 613-549-8792
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