What's taking promised report on policing, community safety so long, advocate asks

·2 min read
BLM organizer Husoni Raymond says getting public input on community safety policies shouldn't take this long. (Miriam Lafontaine - image credit)
BLM organizer Husoni Raymond says getting public input on community safety policies shouldn't take this long. (Miriam Lafontaine - image credit)

A Black Lives Matter Fredericton organizer says he's still waiting on action from the city after a presentation he made to council eight months ago.

Last October, amid growing calls for change, Husoni Raymond asked city council to take a look at its community safety policies and defunding the police in Fredericton.

"There's been a large movement and a lot of conversation across North America for what community safety means," Raymond said.

"And basically the presentation was saying: consult with our communities, consult with everyone living in Fredericton to see how they view safety and how we can better meet those needs."

City council was receptive. They moved to have staff review Raymond's request and report back on the information presented.

After that meeting, then-CAO Chris MacPherson said a report would be ready early 2021.

But that report has yet to materialize.

I'd hate for the momentum to die because of all the bureaucracy of actually getting things done. - Raymond Husoni, Black Lives Matter Fredericton

In a presentation to council, MacPherson said the report would include:

  • an inventory of current policies and operational strategies at the city and within the Fredericton Police Force

  • a study on best practices for a city of Fredericton's size across North America.

  • a look at the makeup of other cities' budgets

  • information on how other municipal police forces include social safety within the organization

MacPherson has since retired and Steven Hart is now CAO.

Fears momentum will stall

Meanwhile, Husoni said, any inquiries about what exactly has been implemented are met with vague responses.

"It's just, 'oh, we're working on it. There's something coming.' But nothing is actually done," he said.

"I'd hate for the momentum to die because of all the bureaucracy of actually getting things done. So we definitely need more efficiency in attacking these urgent issues."

No one at the City of Fredericton was available for an interview, but a spokesperson said staff is looking into joining the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities, a UNESCO program that works to fight racism and discrimination.

An update on that process is expected later this summer.

In a statement, Fredericton police said it is still reviewing its policies.

"This is a large undertaking," spokesperson Alycia Bartlett said in an email. "But we understand that one policy should not be reviewed in isolation, which is why a more holistic review process is underway."

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

CBC
CBC
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting