Diversity of the police workforce was on the agenda today at the Regina Board of Police Commissioners meeting.
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC) sets diversity targets for employers across the province, but the Regina Police Service (RPS) is far from the goals in certain categories.
For example, the SHRC's 2019 goal for Indigenous people in the work force is 14 per cent. The police service was at 8.1 per cent for that year.
Rather than improving over time, the rate of Indigenous participation has been slowly declining over the years. For instance, in 2011 there were 56 Indigenous employees and last year there were 51.
More women in underrepresented jobs a goal
The goal for women in underrepresented occupations is 47 per cent. RPS was at 25.2 per cent.
The report mentions that many factors go into being able to recruit and retain diverse employees, such as job market conditions and the nature of the jobs.
One person at the meeting asked if this disparity was because of a lack of applicants. Police Chief Evan Bray said it was a fair point, but that a lot can come down to recruiting as well.
"Recruiting is I think more of a verb today than it's ever been before. We understand as a police service, whether it's sworn police officers or civilian police personnel, you can't sit back and wait for someone to knock on your door," Bray said.
RPS working with other big employers
Bray said RPS works with other big players in the province to see if they can recommend people to each other. Bray used an example of an accountant maybe not being a fit at SaskPower, but being a fit for the police service.
Another thing on the agenda is crime rates. This year's August numbers for crimes against people are down 4.3 per cent compared to August of last year. Crimes against property are also down 36.1 per cent from last year at this time.
The police have previously said the provincial shutdown due to COVID-19 was a factor in the crime rate drop.