Exploring the lack of diversity in Quebec police forces

This has been an issue for a considerable time.

Police_ForcesThe table above compares police force diversity in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver; what surprised me when collecting this information directly from the respective police forces was the degree to which the information is not public on their website and does not appear to be systematically collected (Surête de Québec does keep good stats):

Quebec’s police academy doesn’t have “a lot of influence” over whether visible minorities apply to become officers, says a spokesman for the academy.

Pierre Saint-Antoine, director of communications of École nationale de police du Québec in Nicolet, said racial minorities made up five per cent of its student population in 2015, despite attempts to “recruit people from all diversities and communities in Quebec.”

“We don’t have a lot of influence on the people that apply here,” Saint-Antoine said, adding that Nicolet has a program in place, in conjunction with the Quebec government, to encourage more diversity among applicants.

Saint-Antoine’s comments come after numbers compiled by CBC News show that Quebec police forces are lagging in their hiring of visible minorities.

For instance, the Sûreté du Québec serves more than 2.5 million people, however, fewer than one per cent of its officers are not Caucasian.

Community activists have said a lack of diversity among police leads to strained relationships with racial minorities.

But getting more people to apply is no easy task, says Paul Chablo, the head of John Abbott’s police technology program.

Before going to Nicolet, prospective police officers must first complete a three-year CEGEP program, and Chablo said many people from minority backgrounds don’t apply.

Out of roughly 250 students at John Abbott, 49 define themselves as having an “ethnic background” and only seven are visible minorities.

‘They have to adjust their techniques’

Chablo, who is also the former director of communications for the Montreal police, points to a multitude of factors — including lacklustre recruiting efforts and poor relationships with some ethnic communities — to explain the lack of diversity among applicants.

He said Quebec police need to a better job of reaching out to prospective employees to encourage them to apply to CEGEP programs in the first place.

“I think they have to adjust their techniques,” he said in an interview.

Source: Exploring the lack of diversity in Quebec police forces – Montreal – CBC News

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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