Mississauga and Brampton residents can have their say on police racism in Peel

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Published September 8, 2021 at 11:13 am

Mississauga and Brampton residents can tell police about their experiences with local law enforcement starting next week as Peel Regional Police reach out to the community in efforts to stamp out systemic racism in policing. 

The Peel Police Services Board (PPSB), the civilian body that governs Peel Regional Police, and the Ontario Human Rights Commission are working with the region’s police force to develop recommendations to address the ongoing problem.  

To involve the community in the process, they’re making available, starting Sept. 15, an online survey to gather feedback on residents’ experiences with and perceptions of Peel police. The voluntary and confidential survey takes about 15 minutes to complete, and will be available on the Peel police website. 

In the meantime, facing pressure from the community, the PPSB is considering a call from residents to create an anti-black racism advisory panel that would work with the board to respond to community concerns.  

In a report presented last month, PPSB executive director Rob Serpe argued that existing supports in Mississauga and Brampton are sufficient and that the board could, instead, create a diversity and inclusion committee that would be broader in scope in tackling the matter. 

That wasn’t well received by residents, who contend such a committee would be too bureaucratic in nature, and wouldn’t get anything done.  

PPSB members will discuss the matter again at their next meeting on Sept. 24. 

The Region of Peel also issued a statement this morning taking aim at the issue. 

The statement reads, in part, that the Region of Peel “recognizes the impact of historical and ongoing racism and systemic discrimination in its communities” and is committed to “learning, evolving and owning the role we have played in preserving the systems that advantage some and disadvantage others.” 

Furthermore, the Region says, it accepts “responsibility to expose and oppose racism, and dismantle the institutional systems that perpetuate social inequities,” and it will make meaningful, sustainable changes for both its employees and Peel residents moving forward. 

Region of Peel CAO Janice Baker said Peel is committed to addressing the root causes of inequalities, and then driving positive change. 

“We recognize that racism and systemic discrimination disrupt the lives of our residents, affecting their health and well-being, and are key drivers of inequality,” she said, adding the Region must work to achieve lasting change and ensure “a thriving community.” 

Concluding, the statement makes note of the “severe impact” of COVID-19 on marginalized members of the community, saying that “…emphasizes the importance of applying an equity lens to Regional efforts.” 

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