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.

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

A Zumba class at the 108 Community Hall parking lot will be hosted by Gale Ogden June 19. (Submitted photo)
Zumba class to raise funds for hospice

Gale Ogden hosting outdoor fitness class fundraiser

Jenna Harvey. (Photo submitted)
UPDATE: Missing woman found safe

Jenna Harvey is in good health and spirits, police say

Ken Lucks is retiring from his post as principal of Mile 108 Elementary, following a 32-year career with the district. (Melissa Smalley photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Mile 108 principal bids farewell

Ken Lucks retiring after 32-year career in education

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Most Read