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

Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Sean Ramsay comes away with the puck after a battle along the boards during a game against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on May 1, 2021. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Three wins in a row for Cowichan Capitals

BCHL team enjoying best stretch of the season

Friends have set up a GoFundMe account for the family of Dorothy Littau, who was diagnosed with colon cancer last month. (Submitted)
GoFundMe campaign set up ‘ever-present force in South Cowichan schools’

Dorothy Littau was diagnosed with colon cancer in April

Peter and Wayne Richmond and 49th Parallel Grocery won the award for Business Achievement 20+ Employees at the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s 22nd Black Tie Awards on Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Submitted)
Black Tie winners announced during virtual awards event

Recipients gave speeches by phone while being live-streamed on YouTube

Cobble Hill’s Bob Collins (left) and reservist Keenan Hayes stand at attention at Cobble Hill Cenotaph in this photo taken on Oct. 22, 2019, to honour members of the Canadian military who died in Canada in non-combat roles. (File photo)
MacGregor seeks to honour armed services members who died on Canadian soil

MP introduces bill to mark Oct. 22 as “Canadian Armed Forces Members’ Day”

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

Most Read