After several months of consultations with key stakeholders within the LGBTQ Community, the Vancouver Pride Society says it’s come to an agreement with the RCMP and Vancouver Police Department on how both organizations will participate in this year’s pride parade.
The Society’s Co-executive Director Kieran Burgess says police presence will be scaled back in many ways.
“In the past, upwards of 45 per cent of the entry has been Police and there’s been multiple vehicles. So fire, police, and ambulance, we’ve asked them to just bring one vehicle each. The police will be bringing no marked vehicles at all.”
RCMP and VPD will walk alongside Ambulance and Vancouver Fire members, mixed in with city staff rather than in specific groups. They will also walk in t-shirts with just a small number in uniform.
“We have asked that no sirens be used, a theory being that sirens can be triggering for people. It’s important to note that the recommendations around uniform extend to fire and ambulance as well, so it’s not just police.”
Staff Sgt. Randy Fincham with the VPD says the request came from multiple groups within the parade.
“That is a request from the Vancouver Pride Society, we respect that. That’s actually the request of other groups who are representing that parade as well, and they have expressed concerns with members in uniform.”
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But Fincham concedes there are some officers, members of the gay community, who are concerned about the lack of a uniformed presence at the event.
“So we have a number of officers, a small number of officers who’ll be attending in uniform, the opportunity is there for some of our representative officers.”
Following their Toronto counterparts, last year the group Black Lives Matter Vancouver called for police to be removed from the Pride Parade.
In the past, Black Lives Matter has said a police float is inappropriate and insulting because the policing institution is linked to violence against Indigenous communities and racial profiling.
This year’s parade is on August 6.