Hamilton Police Service turns to McMaster University researchers to help improve LGBTQ2S+ community relations

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Published September 21, 2021 at 1:54 pm

The collaboration between the Hamilton Police Service and McMaster's sociology department comes after a 2020 independent report that found the police response to violence at Hamilton Pride was "inadequate" and "failed to protect." (Photo: @HamiltonPolice on Twitter)

Researchers at McMaster University have been tapped by the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) to help strengthen its relationship with the local LGBTQ2S+ community.

The university’s sociology department will act as an academic partner to the police service and will begin by conducting a community engagement survey.

“The survey will allow stakeholders to describe the ideal characteristics of a facilitator who would manage the conversation between the HPS and LGBTQ2S+ community,” said Tina Fetner, sociology department chair. “Respondents will also list the qualities and experiences of an ideal community advisory panel, as well as what issues they should address in future communication.”

The collaboration comes after a 2020 independent report that examined whether the HPS responded adequately when violent protesters attacked Hamilton Pride patrons during the festival in 2019. The review found that the HPS’s response was “inadequate” and the lack of police preparation meant the service “failed to protect” festival attendees.

The report made 38 recommendations, including improved communication between police and the LGBTQ2S+ community.

“The survey is anonymous, and the McMaster team will be the only ones with permission to review the responses collected,” added Fetner. “We will summarize the findings and compile a report for the HPS.”

According to McMaster, Fetner and her research team will act as a third-party survey administrator, collecting and interpreting the data before presenting their findings to the HPS for further review and consideration.

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