London police board urges change in wake of Black Lives Matter movement
LONDON, ONT. -- This weekend’s Black Lives Matter rally at London City Hall is focusing on defunding police. Many supporters want to take a portion of the money and put it into social services like housing and mental health.
During Thursday’s monthly meeting, London Police Services Board Chair Dr. Javeed Sukhera urged the board and administration to take action now.
He wants to see anti-racism initiatives, improvements to race data collection and consultation with school boards on how resource officers are used.
“Wherever possible we should be mindful of the requests from the Black community regarding their concerns about safety and police presence in the community, “ said Sukhera. “Whenever possible we should support improved interactions, partnerships between London police and vulnerable members of our community.”
The last Black Lives Matter rally in London saw 10,000 people gather at Victoria Park.
London police Chief Steve Williams was among them, and at the meeting his response was frank.
“We're taking these issues, these conversations very seriously and they're a priority for the administration of this police service, “ Williams said.
“We recognize there are problems in policing, cultural policing bias in policing, there's police brutality, there are people who feel discriminated against - action is required and we are fully committed.”
This weekend’s Black Lives Matter rally is set for Saturday afternoon.