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Toronto police to collect and release race-based data under new policy

The new policy is set to come into effect in January 2020.
The new policy is set to come into effect in January 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

Toronto police officers will soon begin collecting race-based data after interactions with the public following the approval of a new policy.

The Toronto Police Services Board approved the change Thursday.

Starting in 2020, officers will be required to record the race of people they interact with.

It will initially apply to use of force incidents, but will later expand to a wide range of interactions including stops, searches, and arrests.

READ MORE: Killing of Andrew Loku by Toronto police in July 2015 ruled a homicide

The policy comes after the establishment of the police board’s anti-racism advisory panel, following the death of Andrew Loku, who was killed by Toronto police officers in 2015 while holding a hammer.

A coroner’s inquest ruled Loku’s death a homicide, though that ruling did not hold any criminal or civil liability.

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That inquest also recommended the police force be given training to combat anti-black racism.

In December, a report from the Ontario Human Rights Commission also showed that black people living in Toronto are disproportionately likely to be killed or injured in interactions with officers.

READ MORE: Black people grossly overrepresented in cases where Toronto police use force: report

In a statement Thursday afternoon, a police spokesperson said the goal of the new policy is to “eliminate potential systematic racism.”

All data that is collected will be analyzed by both the police service and an independent expert to identify possible trends that indicate racial disparity in police interactions.

The data and the expert’s analysis will then be made public online.

The board’s anti-racism advisory panel said this is the first such policy in Canada.

— With files from Catherine McDonald and Kerri Breen 

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