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

People carry an oversized rainbow flag down Robson Street during the Vancouver Pride Parade in Vancouver, on August 3, 2014.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Vancouver Police Department says its members will walk in the city's Pride parade this year.

The department says representatives have been in discussion with groups including the Vancouver Pride Society and police officers will be allowed to take part, although some changes will be made.

A department news release says no marked police vehicles will be included in the 2017 parade and officers will walk as part of the City of Vancouver's entry, along with city staff and members of Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services.

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About 80 per cent of the department's Pride contingent will walk in T-shirts, while another 20 per cent will be in uniform.

The department has also agreed to participate in listening circles arranged by the Pride Society, allowing community members to share their stories with police.

The changes follow requests from parade organizations across Canada that police not attend their annual events and Toronto Pride voted earlier this year to remove police floats and uniformed officers from their event.

"Our members and volunteers look forward to participating in the Pride parade each year, and we're pleased that we can keep that tradition going," says department spokesman Staff Sgt. Randy Fincham.

Supporting Vancouver's LGBTQ2S+ community goes beyond the parade and police will continue with outreach, education, and awareness efforts year-round, he says.

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