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Beck: Ottawa’s police providers board welcomes public enter Specific Instances

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I’m writing to answer feedback made by Mohammed Adam in his Nov. 9, 2023 column, “How the Ottawa Police Providers Board is shutting down free speech.”

Let me start by addressing the notion that the Ottawa Police Providers Board has given me “the facility to reject audio system outright.” Whereas I do evaluate delegations, I do that on the pleasure of the board to make sure that the delegations are chatting with issues on the board’s agenda or beneath the board’s jurisdiction and in step with its procedural bylaw.

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I additionally observe that submission of feedback beforehand and cut-off dates are widespread in lots of our bodies that solicit delegations. The Ottawa Police Providers Board has all the time had coverage on delegations and has all the time required pre-approval of delegations by the board by way of the chair. The procedural by-law was modified as a method to discover a fairer course of for delegations that inspired extra individuals to delegate and that prevented disruptions of the assembly’s enterprise. The adjustments adopted consultations with different police providers boards within the province and adopted practices consistent with theirs.

To this finish, in any circumstance the place the propriety of a delegation is unclear to me, I defer to the board, as did the chair earlier than me. Adam’s characterization of the method is due to this fact unfair and incomplete. He didn’t attain out to the board for remark.

Adam additionally advised that the Ottawa Police Providers Board is “insulating” itself from criticism. In actual fact, board members, together with myself, spend hours of each week assembly with members of the general public, listening to their issues relating to security and safety within the metropolis and contemplating how policing can change to enhance. In the summertime, regardless of having different full-time commitments, I spent as many as 12 hours every week with members of the general public with the intention to put together for the board’s Strategic Plan and funds. Board members and I’ve additionally frolicked with members of the Ottawa Police Service to learn the way they will do their jobs higher — they usually need to. These consultations proceed and the board welcomes them.

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The Ottawa Police Providers Board, like all police providers boards on this province, has a mandate beneath the Police Providers Act to make sure sufficient and secure policing. Our objective is to make police providers higher and the board will meet with anybody and any group as we develop our new Strategic Plan and put together the funds.

Lastly, I need to handle the assertion, added by an editor  to Adam’s column, that the Ottawa Police Providers Price range was not offered in individual. Whereas the funds was initially tabled at a digital assembly of the board earlier that day, I used to be in metropolis council chambers on Nov. 8, 2023 with Police Chief Eric Stubbs and Deputy Chief Steve Bell for a full metropolis council assembly to current the funds to council. Previous to coming into council chambers, I joined a media scrum with Chief Stubbs to reply questions from native media.

Gail Beck is chair of the Ottawa Police Providers Board.

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