TORONTO — After Peel Region’s police board narrowly passed a motion to recommend carding be suspended, Chief Jennifer Evans said the practice would continue.
“I see street checks as an available way of solving crime,” Evans said.
“I’ve seen this countless times. Today, we only cited six examples of serious crimes that were solved on street check information.”
During a police board meeting Friday, the chief did say that an internal review on ‘street checks’ is taking place while the province considers further recommendations.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie suggested it was time to “take a collective deep breath or a pause” while the controversial tool for police investigation was being reviewed.
Crombie cited a report from former Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin that suggests police officers randomly stopping people is “wrong and illegal.”
“We want to give police the tools they need to do their jobs,” Crombie said.
“Protect citizens, protect the community but at the same time we have to make sure that people’s rights and freedoms aren’t being infringed.”
Data recently released by Peel police shows 21 per cent of 159,303 street checks conducted from 2009 to 2014 involved black people.
According to census from 2011, black people made up just nine per cent of the population of Brampton and Mississauga.
Members of a variety of organizations and individuals were on hand to argue that street checks are not only a violation of individual rights but part of a “systemic problem” with racial prejudice as well.
“They see it as a valuable tool,” President of the Osgoode Society Against Institutional Injustice Knia Singh said.
“We know that carding innocent people does not result in crime solutions.”
New provincial regulations from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services are expected this fall.