The Regina Police Service is looking at the possibility of reserving some of its recruiting classes for women and minority groups in an effort to meet diversity targets.
The move would designate one of the two annual classes sent through the Saskatchewan Police College as a “diversity class”.
As it stands, women account for 26 percent of Regina’s sworn police officers, and only nine percent of members identify as Indigenous.
RPS Chief Evan Bray says the aim of the class would be to help ensure sworn police officers represent the city they serve.
He adds while they want to be diverse, they’re not going to restrict other suitable applicants.
“It’s really just a matter of we are still looking for the most successful candidates, capable people that fulfill the requirements of the job,” said Bray. “But keeping in the back of our mind that we are trying to be very cognizant of those targets that have been set for us, which I think in its most basic form, it’s really being a police service that’s reflective of your community.”
Bray says the most significant challenge of hiring diverse candidates is simply outreach, adding many companies are trying to hire diverse candidates, so the competition is tough.
“Some of those underrepresented areas are not people that are knocking on our door saying, ‘we’d like to work for the police service’,” said Bray, “So we come up with different strategies and ways that we can hopefully build relationships that allow us to attract people from those different communities to come and work in our workplace.”
Bray adds one particular area of priority is Indigenous hires, adding the Indigenous recruitment liaison officer has mentioned diversity classes as a way to increase recruitment.
He says recruitment has been difficult across the board over the past year due to a shift in the perception of police.
“Policing isn’t looking like a real attractive occupation, and I think it’s for a variety of different reasons,” said Bray. “Take what we went through in 2020, I mean, policing was looked at with criticism, with a view to reform, and so I think we’ve seen a reflection of that in even the number of people, in general, that are coming through and saying they want to work in the career of policing.”