New Montreal police unit welcomed by anti-radicalization, race relations groups
New unit will compile information on incidents motivated by hate, work to prevent their escalation
Two leading organizations in the struggle against racism and radicalization in Montreal are welcoming the announcement of a new police unit dedicated to incidents motivated by hate.
Herman Deparice-Okamba, director of the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, said the new unit is good news for the city.
"Police compiling and documenting incidents motivated by hate is extraordinary, because such incidents are a manifestation of radicalization," Deparice-Okamba said.
- Montreal police unveil new hate crimes unit
- Montreal anti-radicalization centre gets $500K budget increase
His centre receives numerous complaints about such incidents from citizens. They will now be able to take their worries directly to the police.
Incidents motivated by hate are defined as non-criminal acts that affect an individual or identifiable group's sense of security and are believed to be motivated by race, national or ethnic origin, language, skin colour, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age or disability.
"The incidents have a troubling effect on the victims and lead to a heightened sense of insecurity," Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said at the unit's unveiling Wednesday.
"These incidents can also lead to actual hate crimes, a precursor to something more serious."
'Information is powerful'
The information gathered will allow police to identify situations with the potential for becoming hate crimes and intervene in order to prevent them.
Fo Niemi, director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, said data collected by the new unit will be invaluable for planning and allocating police resources to vulnerable communities.
"Detailed data on victims and perpetrators, the nature of the incidents, the place and time, that information is powerful," he said.
Coderre said the unit responds to concerns raised by a number of community groups and emerged out of a focus group on anti-Semitism that he took part in last year.
The unit will work closely with the Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence and CRARR, along with other community organizations.