Victoria Police Chief says race doesn’t factor into street checks, despite VPD data

Some senior police officers are saying street checks are completely bias free, while recent data says otherwise.

This week’s meeting of the B.C. Association of Chief of Police tackled the topic of street checks.

READ MORE: Official complaint lodged over Vancouver police ‘carding’ of Indigenous, black people

The technique, often referred to as “carding” involves police stopping people and gathering their information when they are not suspected of any specific criminal offence.

Earlier this month, a Freedom of Information request found that 16 per cent of all people carded by Vancouver Police are Indigenous, even though they make up just 2 per cent of the city’s population.

Four per cent of contacts involved black people, who make up less than one per cent of Vancouver’s population.

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READ MORE: B.C. premier ‘concerned’ over data showing VPD disproportionately stopped Indigenous people

But despite those alarming results from Vancouver, Victoria Chief of Police Dal Manak said he has no plans to look at his own city’s data.

“I don’t think, unless a request is made to do so… our plan wasn’t to go out and make a release,” he said.

Manak stressed that street checks are neither random, nor racist.

“A person’s race does not factor in an officer’s decision to take action to prevent crime,” he said.

READ MORE: VPD accused of ‘profiling’ when making street checks

“It’s their actions, their behaviour. It’s a certain circumstance they may be involved in that leads to that interaction.”

He adds that police across B.C. are doing what they can to improve.

“What we are doing, as many agencies across the province, is [we’re] in the process of reviewing our street check polices.”
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In a statement, the association said street checks are “neither random, nor arbitrary.”

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