Chief Frank Bergen says it’s another signal that Hamilton police are “open to collaborations” and to “rebuilding trust in our city.”
Bergen has announced the planned creation of a hate crime case review team with a goal of improving the police response to hate crimes in Hamilton.
He adds that the service will partner with community organizations to review cases and provide recommendations and advice on training.
“This is us reaching out to our community,” says Bergen. “We’re not building this, what we’re asking is them to help us in the design and looking at our community partners as well as our academic leaders to assist us in what this looks like.”
Bergen says the review team will be modelled after Hamilton’s sexual assault community review team, which was launched four years ago due to concerns that sexual assault cases were being improperly dismissed as “unfounded” across Canada.
Bergen says the sexual assault community review team led the service to “enhance our customer care, enhance our victim support, enhance our policies and procedures, our training.”
There were 80 hate/bias incidents reported to Hamilton police in 2020.
“Left unchecked,” Hamilton’s police chief acknowledges that such crimes can have a “far-reaching impact” on communities.
Bergen stresses this is “yet another opportunity to demonstrate that we will be transparent, we will be engaged and we’re open to collaborations to better serve our community.”