White Rock RCMP presented its strategic plan for the next three years to city council Monday night, detailing its “long term strategy to ensure that the policing service in White Rock is world class.”
The four-page plan identifies five ‘priority areas’ the detachment aims to focus on between 2020-2023: vulnerable persons, procedural justice/confidence in police, road safety, reconciliation and best-practice leadership.
With regard to vulnerable people, the report states that “continuous professional development and constant adaptation of procedures are required,” while adding that police “maintain awareness” of the experiences of marginalized and victimized people.
As well, the report says White Rock RCMP will aim to increase accessibility and transparency of its processes, especially with regard to offences that are “typically under-reported.”
The development of a police mental-health liaison – done with current resources – is also listed as an initiative for the future.
As for the second priority area – confidence in police – the strategic plan lists its objective to “increase communication with the public on issues that matter” by developing a communications and media strategy.
Complainant satisfaction also falls under the ‘confidence’ umbrella, with better monitoring and follow-up with complainants listed as an initiative. Continuing to host community events – such as open houses, Savvy Seniors and Coffee with Cops events – is also a priority, according to the document.
The plan also lists the exploration of “equipment available… that promote confidence in police” – such as in-car and body cameras – as projects to be investigated moving forward.
Confidence in law enforcement is a hot-button topic of late, especially in the United States, where rallies and protests have been held in numerous cities protesting police brutality, especially against minorities.
White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls told Peace Arch News Tuesday that much of what is in the strategic plan had been discussed prior to the unrest south of the border – a public meeting with White Rock council on March 12 touched on many of the objectives, he said – though some additions were made more recently in light of current events.
“The addition (to the plan) has been the recommendation for body cameras, as the RCMP nationally has indicated that they will find a suitable supplier for this,” he said.
When it comes to road safety – which “has an impact on everyone” the report notes – objectives include strengthening intelligence-led traffic enforcement and boosting road-safety education though a video series specific to White Rock, highlighting common issues and explaining misunderstood traffic laws.
Reconciliation is also detailed in the report, with the RCMP noting that White Rock is situated on the traditional unceded territory of the Semiahmoo First Nation and Coast Salish people. The plan states that “it is paramount” that employees of the detachment are well-versed on local Indigenous culture and history.
Listed objectives also include continuous relationship building with Indigenous groups, as well as development of a system to have certain detachment policies reviewed “with an Indigenous (and other) cultural lens.”
Pauls said the plan’s focus on matters that go far beyond “the core functions of police,” – such as crime and arrest numbers – was intentional.
“Although responding to and investigating crime is an important core task in policing, how you engage with victims, marginalized populations, ethnic groups, vulnerable groups and complainants far outweighs how we change crime statistics,” he told PAN.
“White Rock has a compassionate group of officers, and to maintain that and attract the same calibre of officer to the detachment, we need to lead by proactively demonstrating accountability, responsiveness and awareness of the lived experiences of others.
“In my view, the indicator of a world-class police service relies heavily on how it treats the most vulnerable people in the community, (and) of course we will still continue to address crime and public-safety issues.”
The final priority area noted in the report, leadership, is “paramount to an effective, competent and compassionate police service,” the report states.
The plan is to “strengthen detachment police and procedures… through the lens of employee wellness,”; strengthen internal communications and enhance employee-informed leadership through internal, anonymous surveys used to assess detachment operations.
“It is very rewarding for all of us at the detachment to work in a community that is supportive of their police officers, detachment staff, and volunteers. More importantly, we want you to feel valued when you call upon us to provide a policing service,” Pauls said in the release.