The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has released its findings from a workshop about public opinions on various RCMP detachments across the province.
Three hundred British Columbians participated in the first-ever workshop, sharing their likes and dislikes regarding their local RCMP detachment.
David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association says this type of workshop can be beneficial for both the public and the police .
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Some of the key findings that came out of the workshops were that both beat and bicycle police were praised, whereas officers, in general, need to improve their de-escalation skills during an incident.
Participants also stressed a general failure to protect the safety and rights of intoxicated people and people who suffer from mental health issues.
In particualar, in Fort St. John, participants praised the positive ticketing program put on by the community’s bicycle police. The program works with local businesses to reward children with coupons if they practice proper bicycle safety.
Participants also said the officers on bicycles were much easier to access then those in cars and they were more inclined to stop and talk to the public.
The workshop determined that officers on bicycles are more “user friendly” for the public. The report also mentioned that most of the officers on duty were kind and friendly, making them easier to interact with.
However, the workshop also pointed out some areas of concern regarding the local RCMP detachment. One such criticism involved a lack of services in the community to deal with drug and alcohol problems. Participants also said that it was the more experienced officers that showed more compassion and care towards individuals who were under the influence.
Similarly, the report outlined insufficient resources at the detachment to deal with individuals who are intoxicated or suffer from mental health issues. It states that jails cells have been used to detain these people and, in some cases, has led to them being injured.
Finally, one more issue expressed concern over a lack of female prison guards in Fort St. John. As a result, the report states that female prisoners are neglected basic rights, such as showers. Legally, only female guards can accompany female prisoners to these types of activities, thus, a lack of female staff prevents female prisoners from receiving those rights.
Eby says the B.C. RCMP have been praising the positive aspects of the report, but have been ignoring the negative.
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