Polic­ing refugees re­quires sen­si­tiv­ity and pa­tience

Asian Journal - - Front Page - Ray Hud­son

Polic­ing new­com­ers to Canada re­quires more sen­si­tiv­ity and pa­tience says Sur­rey’s Po­lice Chief, Bill Fordy. In pub­lic pre­sen­ta­tions the Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent stresses that many of th­ese peo­ple are com­ing from cul­tures where they can­not trust po­lice, and of­ten fear them. With that per­spec­tive, should refugees be­come vic­tims of crime, they are un­likely to re­port the crime or seek as­sis­tance from po­lice. “Law en­force­ment in Sur­rey and across the coun­try needs to be very sen­si­tive be­cause may of th­ese peo­ple come from parts of the world where they don’t trust the po­lice, they have no con­fi­dence in the jus­tice sys­tem, and they might even think they are cor­rupt,” he said. He re­ferred to the turn around in per­spec­tive by Ma­teen Aminie, an im­mi­grant young per­son who was as­saulted. When he fi­nally went to po­lice, he ad­mit­ted that in his early in­ter­ac­tions with po­lice, he didn’t trust them. De­spite that, and as a re­sult of car­ing and sen­si­tive treat­ment from three of­fi­cers, he came to see the po­lice as pos­i­tive peo­ple. Sub­se­quently, his views changed so dra­mat­i­cally that he’s cur­rently work­ing for the Sur­rey Crime Preven­tion So­ci­ety and wishes to con­tinue on to be­come a mem­ber of the RCMP. “I didn’t know what he was go­ing to say,” said Fordy of Aminie’s pre­sen­ta­tion. “I was re­ally proud to hear that, and my in­tent is to reach out to the three po­lice of­fi­cers and let them know how their kind ac­tions have changed the tra­jec­tory of that man’s life, and prob- ably be a pos­i­tive im­pact on many, many peo­ple. This ex­am­ple we heard un­der­scores the im­por­tance of treat­ing peo­ple with re­spect and dig­nity, lis­ten­ing to them and not be­ing judg­men­tal. Rather we should re­in­force the no­tion that ev­ery­one de­serves a se­cond chance at en­joy­ing all the ter­rific things about our coun­try.” One of the ma­jor ad­van­tages of polic­ing in Sur­rey is the highly di­verse na­ture of the de­tach­ment mem­bers, from the con­sta­bles on the street to the se­nior man­age­ment. “I think one of the things that we’ve been able to do in Sur­rey, from the top down” said Fordy, “is re­ally em­brace di­ver­sity of the men and women on my se­nior lead­er­ship team, many of whom were im­mi­grants to this coun­try. They bring dif­fer­ent life ex­pe­ri­ences and per­spec­tives that I think are help­ful and will only con­tinue to serve us well as we try to build upon the great re­la­tion­ships we al­ready have.

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