Blue Line

Making Vancouver a safe place

August 18, 2016  By Kimberly Wong

644 words – MR

Making Vancouver a safe place

by Kimberly Wong

With one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the country, Vancouver has taken notice of the frequency and severity of crimes against members of that community.


The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has instituted many programs to minimize harm, prevent crime and victimization and increase safety for LGBTQ community members. It has also implemented new policies and embarked on internal training programs to improve officer understanding.

During production of the transgender training video “Walk with Me”, Cst. Dale Quiring, Hate Crimes investigator/LGBTQ liaison officer in the VPD Diversity and Aboriginal Policing Section, listened to heart-wrenching tales of violence and harassment.

After learning the personal stories of participants and hearing about their day-to-day struggles, he realized more needed to be done to help protect LGBTQ persons.

Quiring received a 2016 Chief Constable’s Commendation in recognition of his dedication and outstanding service to the community. His groundbreaking new initiatives include the first Canadian implementation of Safe Place, patterned after the Seattle Police Department program, designed to provide a safe place for LGBTQ person to go when they are feel unsafe or need assistance.

Participating businesses, schools and other institutions prominently display a rainbow coloured decal in their front window to identify their facility as a safe haven. They must also sign a pledge indicating their support and acknowledge their willingness to assist anyone seeking refuge.

More than 200 businesses have enrolled and big name corporations are taking notice. Companies such as TD Bank and Starbucks are on board. The Vancouver School Board is also involved and will work to spread the word along with the VPD, gay/straight alliances and school youth support groups.


LGBTQ persons are the most likely to be targeted by violent hate crimes, with assault the most common offence.

A 2013 Statistics Canada report found that while the majority of police-reported hate crimes involved non-violent offences, two-thirds of those committed against the LGBTQ community were violent. In comparison to other members of the general population, they are more likely to be bullied, harassed, tormented and targeted simply for being who they are.

{New policy, new video}

The VPD unveiled a new policy in June directing officers to use the chosen name of the transgender person and the corresponding pronoun specific to their gender identity when making initial contact.

Furthermore, all staff will be trained on awareness during the coming year to ensure that the progressive new transgender policies are implemented. In doing so, the VPD is taking a leadership role to ensure that all individuals are treated with respect and dignity.

These changes have also lead to the establishment of the VPD’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee, which includes transgender and LGBTQ representatives.

In conjunction with the new policy and training, the video was created by partnering with the Trans Alliance Society Board and the LGBTQ2+ Advisory committee. Although made to educate VPD officers on transgender issues, it has been viewed almost 24,000 times on YouTube.

{Training initiatives}

The video was used at the 2016 IACP conference to teach police leaders about transgender issues in hiring practices and employment and police interactions with LGBTQ persons.

Quiring shared his knowledge and experience through a training presentation for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in November, which included showing the RNC ways they can incorporate their new knowledge in day-to-day work. He is also in discussions with the Toronto and Calgary police services about implementing the Safe Place programs in those cities.

He also to travelled to Ottawa in November to speak to parliamentarians about Bill C-16, wjich would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to add “gender identity or expression” to the definition of identifiable groups in both acts.

On November 7, 2016 he won the Community Safety and Crime Prevention Award at the 2016 Community Safety & Crime Prevention Awards with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.

With hope and tremendous perseverance, the program will soon be in place across the country.


Visit for more information or follow Quiring on Twitter @Dale2075 for the most up-to-date information. Search “Walk with Me – VPD Transgender Training 2016” on YouTube to watch the video.

Kimberly Wong is the program administrator for the VPD Diversity & Aboriginal Policing Section. Contact:

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