NEWS

Police chief to outline options to reform 'corrosive' carding policy

12/16/2014 10:59 EST | Updated 02/15/2015 05:59 EST
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair will report back to the police board next February with a strategy to better enforce the city’s controversial carding policy.

The practice was the primary focus of the police board’s final meeting of the year, held on Monday, and the first with Mayor John Tory as a sitting member.

More than 20 members of the public made impassioned pleas for the board to repeal the policy, citing numerous studies and even a board-sanctioned report that found carding policies generally tend to discriminate against visible minorities.

In the spring, carding policy was amended to limit when officers can card a citizen, and also required police to provide a receipt of the transaction to the person they have carded. 

Toronto police have consistently defended the practice, arguing it is an "effective tool" in making communities safer. 

Tory himself was critical of the practice and the board’s handling of it, but would not lend support to ending carding on Toronto’s streets, saying that the needs of vulnerable communities must be balanced with the difficult job police officers carry out on the street.

Instead, he said, he wants to see carding policy reformed.

“I think the continuation of the status quo is corrosive in a way that is fundamentally inconsistent with how we do things in Toronto and Canada, and how we live,” Tory told the meeting.

Blair is expected to provide an update on the policy at the board’s next meeting in February. 

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