Vancouver is one step closer to ending police street checks.
A motion unanimously passed Wednesday night at city council directs the mayor to write to the Vancouver Police Board, telling them council’s priority is to end the practice of street checks.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart says now the next step is up to the police board to look into their own motion on this in the fall.
“The police board will review all this in September including ending street checks, and that’s really where the debate will happen is some time in the fall.”
He says council doesn’t have the authority to abolish street checks, only the police board does.
Stewart brought forward the motion to council, and says he will continue to push for the police board to implement the ban.
Street checks are when an officer approaches someone on the street who they believe could be involved in criminal activity or a suspicious circumstance.
After a release of VPD data revealed a disproportionate number of street checks by officers involved Indigenous and Black people, officers were required to limit their use of the practice.
Compared to last year, Vancouver police say they’ve done 91 per cent fewer street checks in 2020.
Stewart says even though Vancouver police are doing fewer street checks, it’s still too many.
“We’re still conducting about 10,000 of these checks a year,” he said in an earlier press release.
Vancouver police say street checks are valuable.
“Street checks are a proactive crime prevention tool for police, even though they are used infrequently,” said VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin in an earlier statement.
She says they are not random or arbitrary checks. But Board Director of the Hogan’s Alley Society, Lama Mugabo, calls street checks racial profiling.
“You’re minding your own business.” Mugabo said. “Then you’re stopped by a police officer, and this officer has a gun, and we don’t know the information collected how it’s gonna be used.
“It’s discriminatory, and it’s embarrassing that in 2020 we are still dealing with problems like this.”