ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — RCMP Assistant Commissioner Ches Parsons says a new committee in Newfoundland and Labrador is looking to eliminate existing systemic barriers in the RCMP to allow more members of the Black community to enter its ranks.
Parsons, the RCMP’s commanding officer in the province and co-chair of the Black engagement committee, said in a news release today that efforts will be focused on boosting recruitment of Black officers.
Parsons says the committee will aim to strengthen the relationship between Newfoundland and Labrador’s growing Black population and the national police service, as Black representation on the force remains low in the province.
Committee co-chair Lloydetta Quaicoe says the committee’s new focus on recruitment will allow for better communication and cross-cultural understanding and build trust between the RCMP and the diverse communities it serves.
Quaicoe also says the group will use educational campaigns, workshops and focus groups to increase knowledge of the police force and the job opportunities it offers.
The committee was established this fall to explore how the RCMP is delivering policing services to the Black community in the province.
“The Black community is growing in this province, yet the number of Black police officers serving here is not,” Parson said in the release. He cited “systemic barriers that exist in our recruitment of and interaction with members of the Black community” and declared his intent to ensure the police force “reflects the community we serve.”
Quaicoe says the province’s Black population hasn’t suffered the same kind of prejudice that’s been seen elsewhere, and the committee’s job is to help maintain that record.
“We as a Black community haven’t experienced that kind of racism that’s seen in the United States,” she said in an interview, “but we don’t want to go there. We want to be able to have something, a good relationship, that it wouldn’t lead to that.”
Source: The Canadian Press