Graph highlighting how many male and female officers were working in each B.C. city in 2018. (Lisa Hedmark graphic)

Graph highlighting how many male and female officers were working in each B.C. city in 2018. (Lisa Hedmark graphic)

White Rock only B.C. community where female police officers outnumber men

Provincially, only 24 per cent of officers are women; nationally, that number drops to 22 per cent.

The City of White Rock is home to the only police detachment in the province that has more women in uniform than men.

According to data collected last year by Statistics Canada, White Rock RCMP also has the highest percentage of female officers nationally.

Last year, White Rock RCMP was made up of 24 officers, 14 of whom were women – about 58 per cent. With the inclusion of the newly appointed Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls last month, the ratio currently sits at 56 per cent in favour of women.

For context, Courtenay’s RCMP detachment had the second highest percentage of women in the province at 37 per cent.

The most unbalanced detachment, according to 2018 data, was located in Salmon Arm, where all 17 officers were men.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University data visualization student Lisa Hedmark, who compiled the data for an assignment, said she wasn’t too surprised by the results.

Provincially, only 24 per cent of officers last year were women. Nationally, that number dropped to 22 per cent.

Hedmark, 23, picked the assignment on gender equity in police forces because her family has a connection to what they felt was discrimination in the police hiring process.

When Hedmark was 13 years old, her mother applied to be a transit police officer and passed all of the exams and physical tests “with flying colours.”

“I remember training with her when I was a kid.

“I would Rollerblade and she would run behind me to get ready for her physical,” Hedmark said.

However, Hedmark said, her mother’s application process came to a halt after she was questioned about her personal life, particularly when the interview focused on her being a single mother of four young children.

“We were living in poverty, and in Whalley, and I think there was a lot of other factors that added up to it, but the single mom of four definitely did not help our case,” Hedmark said.

Hedmark said her mother eventually started her own successful business.

Pauls said it’s just happenstance that White Rock has a majority of female officers.

Touching on his personal experience, Pauls told Peace Arch News Monday that throughout his 15-year career with the RCMP, about 50 per cent of his supervisors have been women.

Pauls described diversity – whether that’s ethnically, culturally or through lived experience – as a strength for police, but added that women officers can improve the community’s confidence in their work.

“I think that might include confidence in our understanding of violence-in-relationship investigations and sexual assault investigations,” he said.

The data Hedmark organized shows that large police forces in the Lower Mainland scored poorly when it comes to gender equity, which Hedmark found “most shocking.”

Municipal forces with more than 100 officers in the Lower Mainland that scored below the provincial average (23.95 per cent) include Burnaby (23.79 per cent); Surrey (20.28); Lower Mainland Integrated Teams (20.11); Delta (20); Richmond (18.78); Abbotsford (18.75); Greater Vancouver Transportation (17.65) and Port Moody (14.29).

Major Lower Mainland detachments that scored above the provincial average include Maple Ridge (32.73 per cent); Chilliwack (30.77); New Westminster (29.91); Coquitlam (28.05); Langley City (26.11); and Vancouver (25.43).

Across Canada, Hedmark found that there are only two municipal police forces that have more women than men in uniform, including White Rock’s RCMP detachment.

The other force that has more women is an RCMP detachment located in Warman Sask., which has five female officers and four male officers.

The data can be found here, however not all police departments reported the gender of its officers.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ben Maartman, pictured in his ‘farm office’ has been elected as Area H director. (Ben Maartman photo)
Ben Maartman declared Director of CVRD Area H

Maartman will be sworn in on December 8

Beautiful morning with the sun peaking through, as viewed from Thetis Island. (Photo by Kelly Bannister)
November characterized by a record high, no snow and plenty of rain in Chemainus region

Temperature almost hits the 20 degree Celsius mark on Nov. 4

Applications for the OCP Steering Committee can be dropped off at Ladysmith City Hall or emailed to info@ladysmith.ca. (File photo)
Town seeks community members for OCP steering committee

The deadline for applications is January 4, 2021, at 4 p.m.

Three Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store volunteers have tested positive for COVID-19. (Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary photo)
Three Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary Thrift Store volunteers test positive for COVID-19

Anyone who volunteered at Thrift Store between Nov. 14 - Nov. 28 is asked to monitor for symptoms

Ben Maartman, left, and Murray McNab are running for regional director for Area H North Oyster-Diamond in a Cowichan Valley Regional District byelection later this month. (Photos submitted)
Preliminary Area H byelection results show Maartman up by seven votes, McNab to ask for recount

Results of the by-election to by finalized by noon on Tuesday, December 1

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Tabor Home in Abbotsford. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
B.C.’s largest COVID-19 care-home outbreak records 19 deaths, 147 cases

Tabor Home in Abbotsford has been battling outbreak since Nov. 4

Most Read