The Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Unit works with specific populations within the city who have significant public safety issues. These groups can be defined by a cultural, economic, ethnic, sexual, racial, religious, marginalizing, or some other distinguishing characteristic.
The members of the Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Unit aim to improve the following measurable policing and public safety outcomes applicable to these populations:
over-representation in illegal behaviours
under-reporting of crimes
participation in investigations and in court as victims / witnesses
involvement in crime prevention activities
provision of information/intelligence on criminals, crime groups and crimes
perceptions of safety / fear
confidence in the police
Strategies and Activities
Strategies used within the VPD to address these safety issues and cultural factors include supporting recruitment to ensure the Department has a diverse workforce. For example, the Aboriginal Cadet Program is a mentoring program for Aboriginal youth interested in becoming police officers.
The Unit also works with Training and other sections to provide professional development to front line members. For example, members collaborated with the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre and the City of Vancouver on an Aboriginal Awareness pilot program in 2009. These sessions introduced VPD members and city employees to the urban Aboriginal community who, at excessive levels, suffer over-victimization, criminalization and have a lack of trust in the police.
Relationships are developed with specific communities at both the personal leadership and front line levels. Outreach is also accomplished through the local media and the Unit's participation in community forums, workshops, and rallies.
To address specific safety issues, members meet regularly with representatives from diverse communities.
The VPD's Aboriginal Liaison officer works closely with the Aboriginal Community Policing Centre, developing front line relationships with numerous organizations and individuals in the urban Aboriginal community and working directly with Aboriginal youth.
In 2016, the VPD created new policy for officers interacting with transgender people. The policy was developed in partnership, and has been endorsed by the VPD's LGBTQ Advisory Committee, and both the Trans Alliance Society Board and the City of Vancouver's LGBTQ2+ Advisory Committee.
Also in 2016, Constable Dale Quiring launched the VPD Safe Place program. Local businesses and institutions display a sticker on their windows identifying their location as shelter for anyone in the LGBTQ community who is feeling unsafe or who is being targeted for a crime.
Other Community Initiatives
Through its members' participation in the B.C. Law Enforcement Diversity Network, the Unit also connects with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and municipal law enforcement agencies to host an annual educational forum for both the police and the public. Past forum themes have included Hate Crimes and Aboriginal Awareness.