Saturday, October 22, 2005

Security of and for all

The CP reports on the fairly obvious point that Canadian security services will be more effective if they reflect a wide variety of backgrounds:
Federal security agencies need to recruit more employees from diverse ethnic communities to foster trust and co-operation, says the deputy minister of public safety.

Security organizations run the risk that some cultural groups will close ranks and stop communicating with the government if support is lacking, Margaret Bloodworth told the annual conference of the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies...

Roger George of the CIA University's Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis argued a workforce with “a very diverse set of backgrounds” would help bring the perspectives needed to tackle international security issues.

As observed in the article, the issue isn't merely one of representation in terms of numbers. Rather, agencies which have to be able to identify potential threats in any community need to build enough trust to secure information from those communites - not just by surrepetitious surveillance, but also through community cooperation. And that depends on a widespread belief that the security agency will ultimately act toward the community's greater good.

There's a good ways yet to go on that front. But at the very least the issue is getting attention within security organizations. And more media focus on the actions being taken could help ensure both that the organizations earn public respect, and that they actually receive it.

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