Agreement allows police in Vancouver Pride parade, but changes will be made

A large rainbow flag is carried down Robson Street during the Vancouver Pride Parade in 2015

A large rainbow flag is carried down Robson Street during the Vancouver Pride Parade in 2015

Participation of police officers was brought into question past year, after Black Lives Matter Vancouver asked police to voluntarily withdraw its float from the Pride Parade, as a "show of solidarity and understanding" that officer involvement in the march creates an unsafe atmosphere for some communities.

The Pride society says the compromise was reached after 10 months of consultations with the police and community groups.

The VPD members will march in the parade as part of the City of Vancouver entry, which also includes staff and officials from the city, Vancouver Public Library, Vancouver park board, firefighters and first responders. "The police will be bringing no marked vehicles at all".

"In the past it has been police, then fire, then ambulance".

"We have asked that no sirens be used, a theory being that sirens can be triggering for people".

Representatives from the VPD have been meeting with members of the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) and other community groups to address the concerns raised.

Staff Sgt. Randy Fincham with the VPD says the request came from multiple groups within the parade. One in five officers will wear their uniforms, including those "who are visible in the community", according to the VPD.

Black Lives Matter Vancouver asked the VPD last summer to voluntarily withdraw from the parade, an event police have taken part in every year since 2002, as "a show of solidarity and understanding" because the presence of uniformed officers makes some minority groups feel unsafe.

In the past, Black Lives Matter has said a police float is inappropriate and insulting because the policing institution is linked to violence against Indigenous communities and racial profiling.

This petition comes after members of the Black Lives Matter Vancouver chapter pushed previous year for the VPD to voluntarily withdraw all uniformed officers from the parade.

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