A report on boosting inclusion within the Kingston Police force has been in the hands of police brass since last July.
Kingston Community Health Centres (KCHC) staff involved in creating the ‘Kingston Speaks Inclusion’ (KSI) report are disappointed that up to now Kingston Police haven’t acted on the report’s recommendations.
“I think if they’re going to do it, then they’ve got to show how they’re doing it and when they’re going to do it, right, so timelines – ‘we’re going to do this by a certain amount of time,'” project lead Roger Romero told Global News.
KCHC consulted with hundreds of individuals through a survey including people of colour, homeless individuals and new immigrants, in addition to a number of focus groups. The aim was to improve the police force’s equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).
KCHC staff say getting people to participate was difficult because many of them were skeptical that police would act on the report.
“(Many asked) why are we going to give feedback on a project about Kingston Police when (they) don’t think there’s going to be any tangible changes,” KSI researcher Giselle Valarezo said.
In a statement, Kingston Police asked for patience as they move forward with implementing report recommendations.
“We are working towards implementing some of the recommendations but are also tasked with ensuring law enforcement and the safety of the community,” the statement read.
Romero said 10 months after handing the report over to police, some recommendations could have been acted on.
“We listed three or four trainings that need to be done right now and those are readily available in the community; you could pay for them, you could probably have organizations come and do it for free,” he said.
One of the police commitments was to form a community advisory council allowing for input from marginalized communities while providing some transparency and accountability. Kingston Police say it is working toward that goal.
“In order to ensure we do this properly we have had to redesign our EDI role within the organization.”
“We have had two officers through the role in the past three years and need to create a more sustainable position with guidance and direction.”
Some of that guidance, according to the statement, will come from the city of Kingston’s equity, diversity and inclusion office.
What Romero says is lacking from police is communication about the steps being taken.
“We need action more than the thanks this is what we committed to the community in partnership with the Kingston Police,” he says.
Romero said he’s concerned the lack of communication may further feed skepticism that the report -and its recommendations- won’t be acted on.