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Montreal police need to do more to recruit anglos, says John Abbott Police Tech chair

Click to play video: 'Montreal police not doing enough to recruit English speakers?' Montreal police not doing enough to recruit English speakers?
WATCH ABOVE: Recruiters with the Montreal police force are not attracting English speaking graduates from the police academy at John Abbott College, according to one CEGEP spokesperson. Global's Dan Spector reports – Mar 1, 2018

The head of the John Abbott College Police Technology program says the Montreal police are not doing enough to attract anglophone recruits.

Different police organizations including the SPVM, the OPP, the RCMP and Ottawa police regularly come to the college to court students. He says the Montreal force usually sends unilingual francophones.

“I’ve been told on many occasions, ‘We’re going to do this all in French, we don’t do this in English.’ But why not? You’re missing a huge demographic of the Montreal area,” said Paul Chablo, a longtime Montreal police officer.

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He wonders why the police don’t bring bilingual officers, saying the Ontario Provincial Police and others routinely bring people who are comfortable in English.

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“Students already know they’re going to spend the next 30 years in French — why can’t you put them at ease in a language they’re more comfortable with?” he told Global News.

Chablo said there are graduates of the program in the Montreal police force, and suggested the police use them as recruiters.

“We have a former student who’s a black anglophone, he’s working for the Montreal police. He should be coming to recruit, not someone who has difficulty expressing themselves in English,” Chablo said.

He believes the lack of English recruits in the SPVM negatively affects the quality of policing Montreal anglophones get.

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“When a victim is all stressed and he’s an anglophone or allophone, do you really think this is the time to test their French?” he wondered out loud.

According to their latest annual report, the Montreal police is over 90 per cent white. Chablo believes they also need to do a better job recruiting visible minorities.

“Let’s take a unilingual francophone who comes in from Lac-St-Jean, and an anglophone from the Jamaican community who lives in Cote-des-Neiges or NDG. What is the communication level that’s going to occur when there is that discussion?” he said.

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Brigitte Labelle, a first-year police tech student born in Mauritius said she hopes to join the RCMP instead of the SPVM.

“If they had more people who were visible minorities, maybe I would want to go more,” she told Global News.

Global News reached out to the Montreal police for comment. They agreed to set up an interview with a recruitment expert at a later date.

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