The Peel Police Services Board partners with UofT Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah to advance police governance and human rights
January 18, 2023 By Blue Line Staff / Peel Regional Police
Jan. 18, 2023, Mississauga, Ont. – The Peel Police Services Board has announced that Dr. Akwasi Owusu-Bempah has been engaged to assist the Governance and Human Rights Committee in its ongoing efforts to advance its mandate to address systemic racism, specifically anti-Black racism, from the perspective of police governance and oversight.
Dr. Owusu-Bempah, an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto and a Senior Fellow at Massey College, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in the areas of human rights, anti-Black racism and race-based data. His work examines the intersections of race, crime and criminal justice.
Dr. Owusu-Bempah has been collaborating with the Peel Police Service to address systemic racism, including evaluating the use of force data based on race and developing human rights training for police officers. He has also advised the York Regional Police Services Board how to combat anti-Black racism.
Dr. Owusu-Bempah will work closely with the committee to provide expert advice and guidance on all matters related to human rights, including anti-Black racism, from the Board’s governance and policy perspective. Assisting Dr. Owusu-Bempah is Alex Luscombe, a Ph.D. candidate in criminology at the University of Toronto, a data scientist, and a research and policy consultant.
“We are thrilled to have Akwasi and Alex’s expertise and experience,” said Sumeeta Kohli, Chair of the Governance and Human Rights Committee. “Their expertise will be invaluable as we continue to work towards a police service that prioritizes human rights for all community members.”
The Peel Police Services Board has made substantial progress toward achieving its 2020-2023 strategic plan objectives based on a Community Safety and Well-Being (CSWB) framework. As we develop our 2024 strategic plan, the Governance and Human Rights Committee’s goal is to apply a human rights lens to policing, governance, and oversight better to address the challenges of Peel’s diverse community.
Dr. Owusu-Bempah’s initial steps will be to define the committee’s mandate, examine existing Board policies from a human rights perspective, and develop a meaningful engagement approach with community members to translate lived experiences to Board governance, policy, and changes in strategic priorities.
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