Ottawa Police Service reintroduces its hate crime section
The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) has reintroduced a section specifically focused on hate crimes, which will further enhance changes it made to its online reporting system that make it easier for residents to report hate-motivated incidents.
The OPS has always had officers trained and focused on hate crime investigations but this decision adds more resources and centralizes this important investigative section.
“As a result of community and stakeholder feedback, we’re adding two new hate crime investigators to the Security Intelligence Section to help identify trends and community safety concerns,” Chief Sloly said. “We re-evaluated how we accepted hate-motivated incidents from the public and we know that responding to incidents of hate will have a far-reaching impact on the well-being of our communities.”
Officers in the hate crime section will monitor and triage all incoming reports to ensure a timely, consistent and effective response to all hate-motivated incidents in the city. The section will focus on the prevention of hate-motivated incidents through public education, outreach, and the development of intelligence to address extremism. It partners with the province’s Community Safety and Well-Being plan (CSWB), and includes sharing of information with other police services in the nation’s capital.
“We know that hate motivated crimes are often under-reported,” Sloly said. “We want people to know that we take such incidents seriously and we are here to help.”
In 2019, Ottawa received 110 reports of Hate Crime, up from 104 in 2018 and 95 in 2017.
In 2017, the OPS introduced a new method for reporting any hate-motivated incident online at ottawapolice.ca/onlinereporting. This was put in place so that family members or friends could assist those who were experiencing language or other barriers file a report in the comfort of their own homes. Traditional methods of calling the Police Reporting Unit or attending any of the OPS stations to report an incident remain. Additionally, the OPS made changes in June to its policy of reporting hate-motivated issues like racist graffiti, so that now anyone can submit a report and we will investigate.
“In the past, any hate-motivated incident, like racist graffiti, had to be submitted by either the business or property owner,” Sloly said. “But with this new reporting system, anyone can report a hate motivated incident. This will help us address community concerns quicker.”