The one about police reporting
In April, I was the target of an anti-Asian hate crime and faced incredible challenges reporting it to the police.
On June 24, I addressed the Vancouver Police Board and shared my vision on how to we can make reporting hate crimes as accessible as possible. I sense a real opportunity here to shape the narrative and the history of Vancouver moving forward.
Here is an excerpt of my remarks:
Remarks to the Vancouver Police Board
Steven Ngo | June 24, 2021
My name is Steven and I am here on behalf of the Vietnamese Professionals Association of BC, a member of the Law Society of BC and as a private citizen who wants to help.
Before I begin, I’d like to recognize the progress made by VPD since our last roundtable in the area of hate crime reporting. In particular, I’ve enjoyed working with Howard Tran and Val Spicer. Howard and I even did a radio interview together for VPABC. It’s in Vietnamese but you’re welcome to listen to it.
Today, I want to spend the next few minutes to share my broader vision and the next steps towards achieving this vision.
We’ve all seen the news, we’ve all seen the stats, we’ve all heard stories of people who have been subject to hate crimes, including me. We know hate crimes are here to stay especially with the recent attacks in London, Ontario. And we know that this affects not only the Asian community but all Canadians.
There is a lot of noise about what to do, and frankly, it can get overwhelming. And that’s why I want to focus today on reporting hate crimes and making this as accessible as possible.
I sense a real opportunity here to shape the narrative and for Vancouver to be a role model for the rest of Canada.
To help, I’d like to share five actionable takeaways for the board to implement.
- First, I’d like to see reporting forms in more languages. While we now have reporting forms in English and 7 languages, we are still missing Hindi, Farsi, Arabic, Spanish and French. I understand that these translations are underway, but we still haven’t seen any progress since last month.
- Second, I’d like to modernize the reporting forms. Right now, people need to print off the form, fill them out by hand and scan them in before they can file a report. We don’t need to add unnecessary friction points here. These PDFs need to be fillable to allow people to type in the PDFs. I know there were concerns about having to purchase a special program to convert the PDFs. My team has already done the legwork and we converted all 8 forms into fillable PDFs using Adobe and sent them to the VPD yesterday.
- Third, I’d like to see reference materials created in multiple languages. I understand that this is underway but we need to see this earlier than later. Montreal has heard our call, and they have expanded their reference materials to seven languages.
- Fourth, I’d like to work with the VPD public relations team and get a news release out about the progress made and forms created. This really serves two purposes: first, it raises awareness to encourage people to use them, and second, this is a public relations opportunity. Even I am feeling a bit jaded by all of this negative press, but there is an opportunity to shape the narrative here. I’ve had media interviews with The Vancouver Sun and CKNW 980 where I have praised the work of the VPD — I know that this is a story that will be picked up quickly by the media so let’s amplify it.
- Finally, and this is the most important ask, I’d like to ask the board for your help. I love this city and I’m equally as frustrated by the negative news. But I really want to leverage the work done so far and use Vancouver as an example to police boards across BC. I understand that VPD is part of the BC Association of Police Boards, and if you are open, my ask is to speak at the next meeting about why this matters and how we can make reporting hate crimes as accessible as possible.
In closing, I appreciate that there is a lot of noise about what to do. I also appreciate that there are items far outside of the control of the board like changing legislation.
But if we start with what we can control and remove all barriers to reporting hate crimes, this would go a long way. My dream is that down the road when a new immigrant is faced with a hate crime, they can easily go to the police website, report the hate crime in their native language and know that they will be protected. And we can look back on this moment together and think … you know what? We did it.
Learn more: http://fixpolicereporting.ca