Representation lacking within Regina Police Service, despite more workers: report

The latest equity report covers 2019, a year in which the Regina Police Service saw an increase of 2.61 per cent in total employees. Global News / File

A new report shows several equity groups remain significantly underrepresented within the Regina Police Service (RPS).

RPS presented its 2019 Employment Equity Report to the Board of Police Commissioners (BPC) at Regina council chambers on Tuesday.

Aside from a slight year-over-year gain for women in underrepresented occupations, percentages remained just below 2018 figures for Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities and visible minorities.

Read more: Civilian police oversight in Regina could expand this week

“It’s important that the police service represent the communities they serve,” said Michael Fougere, Regina mayor and BPC member

“That’s really the goal and objective here — how do we get there and what can we continue to do to make sure we have that?”

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According to the report, while the total number of RPS employees remained fairly consistent from 2015 to 2018, there was a 2.61-per cent increase in 2019.

RPS Chief Evan Bray said the service is very active with its recruiting, noting that agencies can no longer “sit back and wait” for people to come to them.

“You should always be able to look at a police officer — or a group of police officers — and see yourself reflected,” Bray said.

RPS did not meet any of the 2019 equity targets for the four designated groups developed and provided by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC).

Statistics from the Regina Police Service 2019 Equity Employment Report. Global News

Those targets take into account current census data and, as such, vary for different areas of the province.

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In 2019, SHRC increased goals for three of the four groups, with the most significant being a 9.8 percentage points increase for people with disabilities, and an added 6.6 percentage points for visible minorities.

“Those targets are goals we are always looking to attain and we do a very good job of our diversity in recruiting … but there are always ways that we can increase that,” he said.

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) increased targets for three of its four designated equity groups in 2019. Global News

Bray credited the RPS with being proactive when it comes to community-based policing, adding that building relationships is key to building equity within the service.

He said there have been two recent meetings with members of the community organization, Black in Sask., which mostly centered on recruitment.

“The discussion was really focused around, ‘how can you better include us in consultation? How can we be better reflected within the ranks of the police service?’” Bray said.

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Global News reached to Black in Sask. Tuesday to learn more about those discussions, but has not heard back.

The report highlighted a number of initiatives the RPS is using to recruit employees who identify within the four equity groups.

The service has also been approved for a scholarship program that is still under development.

It would be used for students enrolled in programs such as the Treaty 4 Citizen’s Police Academy, the Aboriginal Police Preparation program and/or other policing programs.

Breakdown of Demographics

The total number of female employees in the service is 40.7 per cent, down slightly from 41.1 per cent in 2018.

However, the reported noted women in underrepresented occupations is up slightly at 25.2 per cent.

In 2019, the total number of officers increased by 10 — four of whom are female.

Women are the majority representation among civilian RPS employees, with 69.9 per cent in permanent positions and 72.7 per cent in non-permanent.

Despite a slight drop year-over-year in Indigenous employees, the total number remains at 51.

Of the 10 sworn RPS members hired in 2019, two are Indigenous. That same year, one Indigenous employee retired and a casual civilian worker resigned.

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The report noted that 7.7 per cent — 43 employees — identified as having a disability. It added that number “fluctuates over time as workplace accommodations are included.”

According to the report, the number of RPS employees who identify as being a visible minority has remained steady for the last three years.

Thy are also equally represented in sworn and civilian roles.

While not meeting the overall 2019 target of 16.8 per cent, the report noted 13.7 per cent of permanent civilians identify as a visible minority.

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Civilian police oversight in Regina could expand this week – Sep 27, 2020

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