Black, Indigenous people report misconduct by B.C.’s municipal police forces twice as often as others

Black, Indigenous people report misconduct by B.C.’s municipal police forces twice as often as others

Black, Indigenous and Middle Eastern people filed 20 per cent of all complaints with the OPCC

Black, Indigenous and Middle Eastern people are far more likely to report misconduct by municipal police forces than other British Columbians, data released to Black Press Media show.

The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (PCC), which oversees 14 police forces including 12 municipal departments, has been collecting information on the race of complainants on a voluntary basis. That information hasn’t previously been released in the body’s annual report, but the OPCC is planning to include it in its next report.

The figures for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which were provided to Black Press Media upon request, show some visible minorities report police misconduct at a much higher rate than would be expected given the make-up of British Columbia and communities policed by forces that report to the OPCC. The forces overseen by the OPCC include police in Central Saanich, Oak Bay, Saanich, Victoria, Abbotsford, Delta, Nelson, New Westminster, Port Moody, Vancouver and West Vancouver, along with Metro Vancouver’s Transit Police, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU), and the Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Service.

People of Indigenous, Black and Middle Eastern descent all reported police misconduct at significantly higher rate than whites and other minorities. Together those groups account for about 20 per cent of all complaints, but make up less than eight per cent of the population of B.C. and of those communities policed by municipal forces.

Twelve per cent of all complainants to the OPCC identified themselves as Indigenous. In the 2016 census, First Nations comprised less than six per cent of the province’s total population and just over three per cent of the population in places with municipal police forces. That figure includes 6,260 mostly-Indigenous people policed by the Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Service.

RELATED: Victoria banning street checks in bid to address systemic racism

RELATED: Freeland says police must acknowledge racism, advocates call for action

Black people, who comprise just one per cent of the population in B.C. and in communities with municipal police forces, filed four per cent of all complaints in which the race of the complainant was identified.

And those of Middle Eastern background filed a similar number of complaints, despite the 2016 census reporting those of “Arab” background to make up just 0.5 per cent of British Columbia’s population.

Race and ethnicity was volunteered in about 75 per cent of all complaints, but even if all non-respondents were white, Black, Indigenous and Middle Eastern people would still be significantly over-represented among those reporting misconduct.

White people submitted about 55 per cent of complaints in which race was registered. They comprise about 70 per cent of the population in B.C. and about 58 per cent of the population in communities with municipal police forces. (Metro Vancouver’s Transit Police and the CFSEU police areas beyond the borders of municipal forces.)

Black Press Media has requested police-force-level complaint information from the OPCC, but the organization’s media liaison is not available until next week.

Black Press Media has also sought comment from First Nations and civil liberty advocates.

Watch for more.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Motorists breaking travel rules can be fined $230 for failing to follow instructions or $575 if the reason for travel violates the essential travel health order, at this Highway 3 check area near Manning Park. Photo RCMP
RCMP begin stopping drivers on BC highways – check point at Manning Park

Four check points are set up Thursday May 6 around the province

The Aquilini Investment Group has agreed to a proposed contract of five years to run the Abbotsford Centre. (File photo)
Proposal to run Abbotsford Centre offered to Canucks ownership group

Planned five-year contract to cost city $750K annually, starting Jan. 1, 2022

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team Sgt. Frank Jang said outside of Langley Sportsplex at 91a Ave and 200 Street after a man was fatally shot in April 2021. (Black Press Media file)
LETTER: Casual drug users have link to gang killings, says Langley letter writer

The Lower Mainland is in the midst of another gang war and the illicit drug market is part of it

Dr. Bonnie Henry B.C.’s provincial health officer, updates the COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
BREAKING: Willoughby added to list of high-transmission COVID zones

Anyone 30 and over in the area can now register for a vaccine

RCMP were called to collision in the area of 200th Street and 44th Avenue on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 around 4:30 p.m. (Anngela Bayer/Special to Langley Advance Times)
PHOTOS: Langley RCMP called to crash after car turns in front of Jeep

The incident happened on Tuesday and resulted in minor injuries

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Surrey RCMP is investigating after a serious three-vehicle crash at the intersection of King George Boulevard and 128th Street Thursday afternoon (May 6, 2021). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
VIDEO: Serious crash in Surrey sends 1 to hospital

Surrey RCMP say one of the drivers fled on foot, but was later found at an area hospital

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

John Paul Fraser, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. (Screen shot)
Salmon farmers warn Surrey jobs on line as feds end Discovery Islands operations

344 full-time jobs at risk in Surrey and 1,189 B.C.-wide

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read