Community Equity Council Media Release – Hate Incidents/Crimes and the OPS

Posted On Friday May 17, 2019

Community Equity Council Media Release – Hate Incidents/Crimes and the OPS 

As a result of the OPS response to the racist graffiti that defaced the Konga’s family home in early May, there has been a very important conversation raised in the media on how the Ottawa Police Service responds to hate motivated incidents, including how the OPS supports communities that experience hate crimes.    

This issue is such a priority that the Community Equity Council has already identified OPS’s response to hate motivated incidents on the CEC work plan.  Indigenous, racialized, faith-based, and those impacted communities show that they have confidence in their police service when they report incidents of hate.   We know that hate crimes are often not reported for a number of reasons including a lack of confidence and trust in the system and overall impact to individuals and communities and this presents an opportunity for us working together to better understand the impact.  Individual incidents, when left unchecked and reported are often a precursor to other criminal acts or more serious acts and reduce the overall sense of safety in our communities.  

Media reports this past week coupled with prior incidents, demonstrate a need both within the OPS and externally within the community, to better understand and promote how the OPS currently responds to hate incidents and the capacity for an appropriate response to hate incidents in the community.   

At the Community Equity Council we see these conversations as the baseline on where we are starting:

  • The OPS currently does have a response to hate incidents in our community.
  • While changes to the process (prior to CEC which started in November of 2018), including where hate incidents are housed in the OPS and how they are responded to, have occurred over a number of years, there is tremendous opportunity to build on the current efforts.
  •  There is a need both within the OPS and with community to have input and a clearer understanding of the response.
  • Some of the improvements we have already identified include being able to report incidents and not only hate crimes; clear and easy reporting system, consistent reporting response and ongoing follow-up.
  • There is interest by the community and the OPS to have input into how the OPS can better respond to hate incidents. 

We will be working with the OPS on enhanced community engagement around the issues of hate incidents; the OPS’s shared responsibility, as part of a bigger community responsibility, to the increase in systemic racism, xenophobia and proliferation of hate.  This is also an opportunity to build on and establish new relationships with communities that do not have confidence in the OPS to respond to similar incidents of hate.  

The Community Equity Council has a number of people who hold expertise in the area of responding to hate crimes who can work with other community expertise and the OPS.  In addition to this expertise, we will continue to have presentations and discussions with the OPS; facilitate community listening circles with communities that have weak or no relationships with our Ottawa Police Service and provide recommendations to the Ottawa Police Service on how to move forward. 

Anyone with more information on this case or any other similar incidents can report it to OPS at 613.236.1222, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.(TIPS)8477, crimestoppers.ca.     

If you would like to have members of the Community Equity Council come to your community for a discussion about the relationship with the Ottawa Police Service and what you would like to see improved, please send an email to the OPS Diversity and Race Relations Section at diversityand racerelations@ottawapolice.ca 

Media inquiries please contact our Media Relations Section at Media.Relations@ottawapolice.ca

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