York Regional Police
The goal of the YRP Hate Crime Prevention Strategy is hate crime prevention through strategic community engagement and a focus on inclusion amongst citizens by promoting hate crime education and prevention to mitigate potential hate based conflict. As the demographic landscape of policing in York Region continues to undergo significant change, the YRP Hate Crime Prevention Strategy involves direct networking with vulnerable groups, including cultural, religious, ethnic groups, youth, LGBT, and Indigenous communities to safeguard against hate crime victimization.
This best practice was inspired by Chief Eric Jolliffe’s completion of his Masters in Leadership Degree through Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC. His research concentrated on the identification of strategies through which YRP could further enhance relationships, and safeguard the Region’s many diaspora communities from hate crime victimization.
The goal of the YRP Hate Crime Prevention Strategy is hate crime prevention through strategic community engagement. This approach focuses on inclusion amongst citizens by promoting hate crime education and hate crime prevention to mitigate potential hate based conflict, and providing the community with education and information for reporting hate crime. As the demographic landscape of policing in York Region continues to change, the YRP Hate Crime Prevention Strategy involves direct networking with vulnerable groups, including cultural, religious, ethnic groups as well as youth, LGBT, and Indigenous communities to safeguard against hate crime victimization.
As York Regional Police is entrusted with safeguarding our multicultural community, it remains incumbent on those instilled with this obligation to undertake a comprehensive approach that never underestimates the complexity of the community. Members are cognizant of the need to understand historical relevance of communities impacted by oppression, persecution and/or genocide as well as the implications of current global conflict and its impact on diaspora communities. In recent years, that need has become even more significant as the multiple dimensions of diversity in Ontario and Canada are acknowledged and embraced. Acknowledgement of these factors remain at the forefront of the YRP Hate Crime Prevention Strategy.
Making a Difference:
The YRP Hate Crime Prevention Strategy provided the platform for a York Regional Police partnership with York Region Transit (YRT) in which an anti-hate crime and hate bias incident ad campaign was deployed in over 390 York Region Transit and VIVA buses across York Region, to encourage public reporting while also supporting safe transportation. Additionally, anti-hate training as provided to YRT Special Constables, bus drivers, and Municipal By-Law officers from across York Region’s nine municipalities, as well as newcomers at five Immigrant Welcome Centres.
External challenges included ongoing efforts to connect with all communities within the region, with a particular emphasis on the identification and connections to vulnerable communities. Some of these communities exist in small numbers and do not have the broader community profile as larger communities. The strategy utilizes a framework of Human Rights and Social justice to overcome challenges to fear and mistrust of police in communities that have been subjected to hate crime victimization and other human rights violations.
Vision for the Future:
In building on this strategy, mandatory Human Rights Training 101 is set to commence in the Fall of 2016 for all YRP members. This training adds further value to police officer cultural competencies for engagement in multicultural and vulnerable communities, and further assists in understanding the significance of history, context, and complexity in hate crime/incident investigations. Additionally, quarterly training and meetings for YRP’s 25-member Hate Crime Investigation Team, as well as YRP’s membership on the provincial Hate Crime Extremism Investigative Team provides for the sustained application of learning.
The YRP Hate Crime Prevention Strategy operates on the concept that a time of crisis is not the time to be exchanging business cards. In this regard, the social impact of Hate Crime investigators proactively visiting cultural and community centres, faith based facilities and gatherings, has been profound.
About the York Regional Police
York Regional Police with its 2300 members serve the Regional Municipality of York, comprised of nine local municipalities and 1.1 million people, bordering the City of Toronto to the north.