Halifax Regional Police offers an apology to African Nova Scotians
Today, Chief Daniel Kinsella offered a formal apology on behalf of Halifax Regional Police to the African Nova Scotian community. The apology’s intent was to acknowledge negative experiences of the African Nova Scotian community with the department and to reaffirm Halifax Regional Police’s commitment to building trust with the community.
“On behalf of the Halifax Regional Police, I am sorry. I am sorry for our actions that caused you pain,” said Chief Kinsella. “While decades of injustices cannot be undone, we are committed to doing better moving forward. My hope is that today’s apology shows you our commitment to change and our promise to do better.”
The apology is only the first step. For meaningful and substantive change to take place, Chief Kinsella outlined an action plan that was designed with direct input from those who have been impacted. The plan includes an advisory committee, which will inform actions related to community engagement, training, diverse recruitment and public education; new police training rooted in the experiences of the African Nova Scotian community; enhanced youth focused programming; a Know Your Rights awareness campaign; and full accountability for any case of mistreatment that comes to light.
Earlier this year, Dr. Scot Wortley reported that there was a disproportionate number of street checks on members of the African Nova Scotian community. While street checks are only one element, this information deepened the divide. Street checks, as the community experienced them, are banned and will not take place again.
“Change will take time. We are here in front of you today with the best intentions and a commitment to fundamentally bring a shift in the way we have worked with the community,” Kinsella said. “Together, we will develop meaningful actions and purposeful solutions.”
The apology was broadcast live on Halifax Regional Police’s Facebook page and is now available on Facebook (@HalifaxRegionalPolice).