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Halifax Police Commissioners to receive private update on street check report

Chief Jean Michel Blais of the Halifax Regional Police views an overhead projection as he attends a meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners in Halifax on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017.
Chief Jean Michel Blais of the Halifax Regional Police views an overhead projection as he attends a meeting of the Board of Police Commissioners in Halifax on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Halifax’s Board of Police Commissioners is set to receive a “progress update” on a report about the use of street checks — otherwise known as “carding” — on Thursday.

But as first reported by Star Halifax, the meeting will be held behind closed doors.

The Nova Scotia Police Act says that meetings of the Board of Police Commissioners are open to the public unless they relate to “discipline, personnel conduct, contract negotiations and security of police operations.”

Brendan Elliott, a spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said that at this stage in the process it would be “irresponsible to not factor in any legal or serious operational implications being mentioned in the update, so the decision was made to go in-camera.”

Elliott says the report will be made public in the new year.

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READ MORE: N.S. Human Rights Commission launches survey on use of ‘carding’ in Halifax

Street checks refer to the police technique of stopping people when no specific offence is being investigated, questioning them and recording their information.

Scot Wortley was hired by the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission in 2017 to investigate the crime-fighting potential of police street checks and weigh it against the possible negative impact on racialized communities.

Wortley, a University of Toronto criminology professor and author on race and crime, was brought in after data showed black men were three times more likely than whites to be subjected to the controversial practice.

He has reportedly met with multiple members of the HRP from all levels of policing — including crime analysts, detectives in major crimes, sergeants, patrol officers and Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean Michel Blais.

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Wortley has also met with RCMP detachments in Sackville, Tantallon, North Preston and Cole Harbour.

He also held 11 community meetings in the HRM that sought input from the general public.