The Saanich Police Department reached a historic milestone Sunday night when it deployed an all-female constable team.
Saanich is committed to the 30×30 initiative that aims for 30 per cent female recruitment by the year 2030.
The initiative is driven by the fact that women are significantly underrepresented in law enforcement.
“The 30 by 30 program actually started in the United States several years ago and drew our interest because we’re so committed to enhancing our diversity within the organization,” said Saanich police chief, Dean Guthrie.
“We joined the initiative, (and) we were one of the first departments in B.C. in Canada that actually signed on.”
Guthrie said the department already has a number of women working there so they are looking for ways to increase female employement.
“There’s absolutely room for improvement,” he added. “We’re not only focused on recruiting a diverse pool of really highly qualified applicants, including women, into the police department, but we’re looking and paying a lot of attention to our middle ranking officers, our supervisory officers in the sergeant, staff sergeant rank, as well as senior officers and executive officers.”
Guthrie added that having women on staff is critical because officers serve so many different people in the community and it’s important to have different perspectives and ways of communicating.
“And this in particular 30 by 30 program does just that, where our female officers who are on the front line are doing tremendous work and really engaging, investigating and connecting with the community in ways that are different than a male officer could.”
Insp. Stephanie Finateri is part of a study called Canadian Women in Policing: A National Exploration of Women Officers Experience.
“It is being conducted by the Durham Regional Police Service in partnership with Ontario Tech University, and is endorsed by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police,” she told Global News.
“The study aims to bridge the information gap concerning the challenges and opportunities faced by women in law enforcement in Canada and shed light on the pivotal importance of gender equity within Canadian police services.”
The study just launched and will run until March 2024.
“There are a lot of barriers in in Canada in relation to women in policing,” Finateri said.
“So that’s why this study is quite important so we can better understand those barriers and what we can do in the future to ensure an equitable workplace.”
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