Cops reaching out to diverse communities

By RON FANFAIR

Canada’s largest municipal police service has produced a “Guide to Police Services in Toronto” in 25 languages on DVD, online and on interactive video kiosks.

Created by the Toronto Police Service (TPS) through its Community Mobilization Unit’s Newcomer Outreach Program established four years ago to help new immigrants become familiar with the role the police play in Canadian society, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada-funded video guide provides useful information on the city’s police services.

“We have a community of people who have come from all over the world, who speak every language, practice every faith and who are part of every culture,” said TPS Chief Bill Blair. “Part of our responsibility is to ensure that people who come here from perhaps different and challenging circumstances where the relationship between the public and the police is not a trusting one feel welcomed.

“We have to go into those communities and demonstrate that we are worthy of that trust after earning it and also show them respect. Part of showing that respect is getting the information they need in the languages they speak in a way which is culturally competent and respectful of their backgrounds and their faith.”

The DVD will be distributed to libraries, community organizations and members of the public.

“Providing valuable information to newcomers in Canada is a crucial component to a successful integration process,” said Citizenship and Immigration Canada Director of Settlement Programs, Darlyn Mentor. “Helping newcomers feel at home, giving them a sense of belonging and assisting them with the integration process is an essential part of the federal government’s integration program.

“We need to remember that integration is a two-way street. Newcomers need to understand our system and our system needs to understand newcomers as well. Partnerships like this one go a long way in helping us meet newcomers’ needs. When we increase the success of newcomers, we as a community will ensure that we have a stronger Canada.”

TPS Board chair Dr. Alok Mukherjee said the new tool is an invaluable addition to the human resources the organization uses to reach out to all segments of the community.

“An informed community is an empowered community,” he said.

The TPS also launched a newcomer outreach website that includes online video versions in all 25 languages and PDF versions that can be downloaded. The video was also unveiled on two portable interactive touch-screen video kiosks to be used at TPS facilities and at community events.

The products are available in English and French with optional closed captioning, American Sign Language, Arabic, Cantonese, Dari, Farsi, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Serbian, Sinhalese, Spanish, Tamil, Urdu and Vietnamese.

 

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