Saskatchewan’s Police Recruit Training Needs A New Strategy
(Saskatoon, SK – June 30, 2016) The Coalition of Indigenous Peoples of Saskatchewan (CIPS) is calling on the Saskatchewan government to develop and implement a new strategy for its police training. Currently, once hired and sworn in by a provincial municipal police service, candidates attend the Saskatchewan Police College for 20 weeks of recruit training. CIPS is calling for a new strategy on recruit training that is longer and involves culturally sensitive education concerning the diverse Indigenous peoples in the province. “We need a paradigm shift in the current training regime, so that officers are more culturally aware of Indigenous peoples and recruits displaying entrenched patterns of racism are weeded out during the training period,” said CIPS President, Kim Beaudin.
In 2015, Bob Paulson, RCMP Commissioner, acknowledged that there were racists in the national police force, but no such admission has ever been made by Saskatchewan’s municipal police services. Current training of police officers in the province is failing to identify racists coming through the system and this needs to change. In 2015, CIPS urged Gordon Wyant, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Saskatchewan, to be influential and effective in having our police forces follow up with an acknowledgement of racism similar to the RCMP. ”Unfortunately, there was no response to our initiative and there has been no improvement to the policing system in Saskatchewan,” said President Beaudin.
In a recent report, Paul Dubé, Ontario’s Ombudsman, found problems with both the type and the amount of training that Ontario police officers receive. The report indicated that the ”final pass/fail test on the use of force is largely about using force, not using judgment to de-escalate – and after that, their training is left to the discretion of their individual police services, with no monitoring by the province to ensure it’s consistent from service to service.” The training and working environment is no different in Saskatchewan and a new strategy is required where officers graduate with skills that allow them to be culturally sensitive to Indigenous peoples, as well as understand our rights under Canadian law.
In Saskatchewan, the despicable practice of racial profiling continues to result in alienation of Indigenous peoples from law enforcement. This depletion of credibility and trust makes the legal system dysfunctional, and relations between Indigenous peoples and police become toxic. Racial profiling was defined by the Canadian Review of Policing Research as: “a racial disparity in police stop and search practices, customs searches at airports and border crossings, in police patrols in minority neighbourhoods and in undercover activities or sting operations which target particular ethnic groups.”
CIPS supports a broader definition of racial profiling similar to that taken by the Ontario Human Rights Commission: “any action undertaken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, or place of origin rather than on reasonable suspicion, to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or different treatment.”
CIPS is an Aboriginal advocacy organization representing the interests of status and non-status Indians living off reserve and Métis. Since 2006, our organization has been advocating for the rights and interests of this constituency at provincial and national levels. We are an affiliate member of the Indigenous Peoples’ Assembly of Canada, which is a national Indigenous organization based in Ottawa.
For more information contact:
Kim Beaudin, President
Coalition of Indigenous Peoples of Saskatchewan