Const. Amarjit Nijjar has been named the White Rock RCMP’s bias-free policing advisor, in addition to his front-line duties as an officer. (RCMP handout)

Const. Amarjit Nijjar has been named the White Rock RCMP’s bias-free policing advisor, in addition to his front-line duties as an officer. (RCMP handout)

White Rock RCMP officer tasked with seeking out signs of racial bias

Detachment continues review of racial bias in policing

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls says the detachment is keeping a “critical eye” on unconscious racial bias within the seaside police force and, to that end, has designated one of its five-year veterans a “bias-free policing advisor.”

During the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, which took place across the U.S. and in Canada in 2020 following the brutal police killing of George Floyd, who was black and unarmed, the White Rock RCMP launched a review of its own policies and street checks to look for any indication of racial bias.

At City of White Rock’s regular meeting Monday, Pauls provided an update on the review and the new role of Const. Amarjit Nijjar as the bias-free policing advisor, in addition to his front-line duties as an officer.

“I do not tolerate discriminatory behaviour. And the diversity of our officers allows for critical discussions on many important societal and policing issues at our detachment,” Pauls told council.

“The monitoring for bias in policing, in particular unconscious bias, is an ongoing proactive process that has to form the culture of policing. Part of this process in White Rock is to have a bias-free policing advisor.”

Kale noted that Nijjar views matters through an informed lens, based on his lived experience with racism and discrimination, and some policies have already been adjusted as a result of the review.

Nijjar, who was also present at Monday’s meeting to provide information and answer questions, told council that the White Rock RCMP has concluded that terms such as “Indo-Canadian gang” and “Asian organized crime,” are inappropriate to use, but noted that both are still occasionally used by the media and government.

RELATED: White Rock RCMP reviews street checks for racial bias

Nijjar told council that the police force has also acquired a service that gives its officers real-time translation via phone, video, or in-person of more than 200 languages.

“We continue to evaluate our detachment policies to ensure that they are inclusive and unbiased in relation to race, national or ethnic origin, skin colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, citizenship, socio-economic status, genetic characteristics and disability,” Nijjar said.

The internal review was launched after RCMP Cmsr. Brenda Lucki and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that systemic racism exists in the national policing organization, however, Trudeau and Lucki did not provide practical examples or rationale to support the conclusion of today’s RCMP.

A review of the street checks in White Rock, which was completed in July and was one of the first steps in the internal review process, indicated that they were being done in a bias-free way.

“How we came up with this idea is we looked at the media, we looked at what the public was saying. We looked at our own detachment and figured out, OK, are we doing what we see in the media?”Pauls explained to council.

“If we are, or if we are not, let’s have something in place to make sure we never go down that road. When the community asks us about what we’re doing about racism… we have a sufficient answer for that, that’s going to be justified with our actions.”

Both Pauls and White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker said they did not know of any other RCMP detachments, or municipal police forces, that have undertaken such a review.

Pauls received praise from a number of councillors for undertaking the initiative.

“I think the attitude is one that we need in our community,” Walker said.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, it’s treating people the same and treating them right. I think that’s something that you’ve kind of pioneered here for us.”

Pauls told PAN that no allegations of discrimination were made against the RCMP detachment in 2020. He said that any complaints about racism or bias would be initially investigated by him if the allegation involved an individual officer. A complaint about the detachment would be investigated by RCMP’s “E” Division.

“The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission would also have oversight of these investigations in many cases,” he added.

racismRCMPWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Record-setting high jumper Emma de Boer, who lives in Cloverdale and attends Holy Cross Regional High School in Fleetwood, will train and study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) next fall. (submitted photo)
Surrey jumper on a high after recruitment by UPenn track team

High jumper Emma de Boer aims to leave Cloverdale for Philadelphia next fall

Surrey RCMP Gang Enforcement Team street check. (File photo)
Surrey RCMP gang enforcement team seizes five vehicles

This was over 13 days, as SGET continues to target gang activity in this city

File photo
Surrey to borrow $150 million for three major recreation projects

That’s for a sports complex in the city centre, a sports and ice complex in Cloverdale and a community centre in Newton

Tim Baillie, the “Supreme Commander” of Toque Tuesday events in Surrey, at Surrey Civic Plaza in 2018. (File photo: Bala Yogesh)
Ball hockey scrubbed, Surrey’s ‘Toque Tuesday’ turns to drive-thru collection to help homeless

‘Clean out your closets and stop by from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.,’ urges the event’s ‘Supreme Commander’

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
RCMP officers wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 stand by. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
RCMP appeal for witnesses after hit-and-run leaves girl, 17, in critical condition

The Metro Vancouver teenager was found unconscious and critically injured after being hit: police

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Langley activist Dorscie Paterson celebrated her 108th birthday on Monday, Jan. 25 at the Cedar Hill long term care facility. Because of the pandemic, she remained inside, able to see, but not shake hands with visitors. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Celebrating a 108th birthday without physical contact

Pandemic required Langley woman to stay behind a window

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
5 big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

Most Read