Revised ‘carding’ policy up for debate again at police board meeting

WATCH ABOVE: Police Chief Bill Blair criticizes the new report on police carding.

TORONTO – Chief Bill Blair criticized the methodology and findings of a new report that alleges police officers are carding young people near Jane and Finch despite being told in April to stop.

“The methodology I think needs to be far more clearly explained than it was,” Blair told reporters at police headquarters Thursday.

“Certainly we’ve had indications from the people who participated in those community meetings that the methodology was somewhat suspect.”

The report, written by Neil Price, the executive director of Logical Outcomes, suggested the Toronto Police Service was ignoring new carding practices, which were approved by the board in April.

The report surveyed 404 people and claimed more than 60 per cent of respondents felt police encounters were prolonged to get more information and that there still exists a deep dissatisfaction with officers.

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And roughly two-thirds of survey respondents who said they had been stopped by police said they didn’t think officers had a good reason to question them.

But Blair said the report seems to contradict the numbers he has. He said police only handed out 83 “contact cards” in 31 Division (an area surrounding the intersection of Jane Street and Finch Avenue) between June 1 and August 31, 2014 – the span of the report.

Of those, only four were for people under the age of 18.

“Yet the report contains information that would indicate that virtually everyone for whom a contact card was submitted plus many more that submitted to this survey, that they were treated badly,” Blair said.

Price told reporters following the Police Services Board meeting Thursday that it’s clear police officers are still carding people when they’ve been told to stop.

“There’s a policy that was meant to be followed by police officers in 31 Division, and that’s not happening,” he said. “It seems there’s not enough clarity around when a public safety motivation for carding or for stopping and questioning.”

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Dr. Alok Mukherjee said Wednesday part of the reason police were still carding Torontonians was because Chief Blair had not written a new set of procedures that align with the new carding policy.

with files from Mark Carcasole 

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