The Regina Police Service has one of the highest rates of women officers among forces in Western Canada, but the service continues to lack other diverse employees like Indigenous or disabled people.
The 2020 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Report outlined how many employees were women in under-represented occupations, Indigenous people, visible minorities and people with disabilities.
None of the targets set by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission have been met by the service.
The total percentage of women employees in the Regina Police Service is 39.9 per cent, which is down slightly from 40.7 per cent in 2019.
Although the total percentage of women employees is down, women in under-represented occupations (like sworn officers) is up slightly at 26 per cent.
Human resources manager for the RPS Sandra Burrows said the service has been able to recruit a number of women from other caring occupations, like social work, nurses and teachers who find the job appealing.
“We’re competitive with the City of Vancouver. They have 26 per cent and we lead the pack on women in sworn positions in the police forces across Western Canada,” Burrows said.
In comparison, sworn women officers in other jurisdictions include 25 per cent in Saskatoon, 22 per cent in Edmonton, 21 per cent in Calgary and 16 in Winnipeg, Burrows said.
The Regina Police Service is also exploring the possibility of adopting the 30 by 30 U.S.-based initiative, which commits to having a 30 per cent women workforce by 2030.
Regina Police Chief Evan Bray says Indigenous recruiting continued to be a priority in 2020.
“Indigenous recruiting is a priority because of the very large population of Indigenous peoples we have living in our city and our community,” Bray said.
In 2020, the police service had two Indigenous employees retire but they hired two civilian Indigenous employees. The total number of Indigenous employees remains at 51 or 8.1 per cent, which is the same as 2019. It is also below the service’s target of having 14 per cent of its employees identifying as Indigenous.
Indigenous recruitment continues to be on the decline. In 2016, about 9.5 per cent of the service was Indigenous, compared to the 8.1 per cent in 2021.
Persons with disabilities
In 2020, the service changed the way it reports persons with disabilities. In the past, the service included people requiring accommodations, but now only include people who self-declare a disability.
For this reason, the service says the total number of employees with a disability went from 46 in 2019 to 17 in 2020.
“We want to accurately reflect the true intent of the collection and reporting of employment equity numbers which rely on the individual’s self-reporting,” the report said.
Using the same methodology used in 2019, the total percentage of persons with disabilities would have been 8.7 per cent, which is less than the force’s goal of 22 per cent.
The report says the employees who identify as visible minorities are well-represented in sworn and civilian roles. There are 51 employees who are visible minorities, an increase from the 27 reported in 2010.
Since 2017, the number of visible minorities has remained steady.
The Regina Police Service is not meeting the new overall target of 16.8 per cent, but they say they are progressing toward the representation goal.
“It is worth noting that 13.64 per cent of total civilians identify as visible minority,” the report reads.