Strategy 22
Track 1

Strengthened Relations Between First Nations and Police Forces

Illustration from Mack Paul

Establishing new models of structured, cooperative relations between First Nations, the RCMP, and other police forces so that changes can be made at the policy and community level.

The Challenge

Policing is most often the first aspect of a person’s interaction with the justice system. For many First Nations and other Indigenous peoples, this interaction is filled with fear and trauma that is tied to the historical and current contexts of policing. Historically, police forces acted as enforcers of many colonial policies of assimilation and displacement, including forcible land dispossession and the residential school system. Today, concerns of systemic racism and bias are attached to police forces who have harmed or failed to protect Indigenous people, particularly Indigenous women and girls who are overrepresented as survivors of violence and crime. As a result of these realities, when First Nations people require assistance, including protection by the police, they may not feel safe to reach out for that help. 

Transforming the relationship between First Nations and policing is also complicated by the multiple structures of policing across British Columbia. In different geographical areas the policing authority may be RCMP or a municipal police force. In many places there will be agreements in place between First Nations and the RCMP or local policing authority.  The First Nations and Inuit Policing Program (FNIPP) also plays a role as a national program that provides enhanced policing for First Nations communities. Approximately 132 communities in BC are part of the program, although many more have asked for support through the program and been denied. First Nations led community-based public safety models are needed to facilitate culturally appropriate safety models within local First Nation communities.

The Solution

Ensuring that policing better reflects and serves the needs of First Nations, Strategy 22 focuses on developing and strengthening the protocols and relationships that First Nations hold with police. BCFNJC will work with the RCMP and other municipal police forces in BC to develop new models of structured relations with First Nations that support the presumption of diversion and other goals of the Strategy. BCFNJC will also work with BC to co-develop a framework for the expansion of and transition to community-based First Nations alternatives premised on self-determination.

Lines of Action

Develop protocols between the BCFNJC and the RCMP, as well as the BCFNJC and other local police forces in BC.
Status not-started
Co-Develop and implement a new approach to Community Tripartite Agreements (CTA’s). BCFNJC, based on feedback from First Nations, will develop proposals for changes to the CTA model
Status not-started
Co-develop a framework for expansion and transition to increased community-based First Nations police forces.
Status not-started