PRINCE RUPERT, BC: The City of Prince Rupert will soon have a unique honour as it becomes the first RCMP policed community in BC to take part in the Safe Place program as the BC RCMP launches the program across the province.
The Safe Place program, which was originated in Seattle and currently runs in Vancouver, allows for businesses to self-identify as a Safe Place for members of the LGBTQ community and will offer them shelter if they are feeling either unsafe or that they may be a victim of an anti-LGBTQ crime.
“The Prince Rupert RCMP feel that public safety for all citizens without discrimination is important. When we were approached about implementing the program locally we thought that it was a great idea, and began to work with our provincial Headquarters and the RCMP National Headquarters to see how we could do it”, explains Inspector Blake Ward, Officer-in-Charge of the Prince Rupert RCMP. “This program heightens the awareness of the diversity within our community and the need for acceptance as everyone deserves a place where they are safe. We are very glad that Christine brought this idea to us and we are now able to introduce it into our community.”
In the Safe Space program people who feel that they are the victim of anti-LGBTQ crimes or harassment enter the business and stay there until police are able to attend. Participating locations sign a pledge promising that they will instruct their employees to assist victims and witnesses to anti-LGBTQ crimes.
“This was a collaborative effort. After seeing the stickers in Vancouver, we realized we need to see these everywhere. It sends a message of acceptance and that a safe place can be found for LGBTQ2+ individuals if they need help. Businesses can show support and it’s inclusive. I’m extremely proud we brought this forward and the RCMP responded. This is Pride,” explains Christine Danroth, who approached the RCMP about the program.
Constable Kayla Radford, who led the initiative on behalf the Prince Rupert RCMP agrees that having a program that fosters acceptance is important for the community.
“This initiative is important to me because I believe I can use the platform of being an officer to bring our city together in helping the entire population of Prince Rupert feel safe regardless of their orientation, gender or beliefs,” says Cst. Radford.
While the program is currently only in Prince Rupert it is expected that other RCMP Detachments and communities will soon join.
“The town of Prince Rupert and the local Detachment truly were the driving force behind getting the BC RCMP onboard,” explains Jane Hanson, Volunteer Engagement and Crime Prevention Programs Director for the BC RCMP. “Now that we’ve been able to officially launch it there, I know that other RCMP Detachments will soon be onboard as well. This is a terrific initiative that can only help to promote acceptance and inclusion in our communities while protecting people who may feel they are at risk.”
Released by BC RCMP
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