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End the racist practice of carding/street checks in London, Ontario

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As citizens of London, we call on Chief John Pare and Board Chair Jeannette Eberhard to permanently end the police practice of carding/street checks in London, to permanently delete all information collected through past street checks, and commit to ongoing education for police and support staff in anti-racism/anti-bias training.

A racially biased practice

Data demonstrates the practice of street checks disproportionately impacts Black, Brown, and Indigenous people at rates 3 times that of non-racialized people. Only 16% of Londoners identify as people of colour and only 4% identify as Black.

“It’s not that the individual police officer is racist. It’s that their practice is racist.” – London city Councillor Jesse Helmer, November 15, 2016.

 

Lack of demonstrated efficacy

Despite several calls to provide quantifiable evidence that carding is an effective investigative tool, London Police Services have yet to provide any data to that effect.

Regardless of the efficacy, which at this point can only be demonstrated anecdotal, the social cost to our community is too high.

London carding rates among highest in province

Statistics show that London Police conduct carding at rates three times more often than police in Ottawa and Hamilton, and five times more often than in Windsor. (http://www.lfpress.com/2015/10/18/this-plucky-group-calls-it-like-it-sees-it)

Ontario’s temporary ban & amended regulations

After temporarily banning the practice, the Province of Ontario recently announced amended regulations which, among other changes, includes a requirement to provide individuals stopped with a receipt documenting the police interaction.

These amended regulations do not adequately address the fact that this practice is racially biased, and causes harm to racialized community members.

Ongoing community calls to end carding

At a public consultation session hosted by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services on the practice of street checks on August 30, 2016, more than 90 Londoners nearly unanimously called for the practice to come to an end, not be amended.

At London’s Community Forum on Racism held in September of 2016, community members again stated their concerns with the practice, calling for it to end, and calling on Mayor Matt Brown to take leadership on this issue through his role on the London Police Services Board.  

Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has expressed grave concerns about the constitutionality of the practice of street checks, even with the recent regulations brought in by the government of Ontario. Specifically, section 9 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees our right not be arbitrarily detained or imprisoned.

Principals of the Police Services Act

Section 1 of the Police Services Act requires that police services be provided in accordance with the principles that a) safeguard the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code, b) recognize the need for sensitivity to the pluralistic, multiracial and multicultural character of Ontario society, and c) recognize the need to ensure that police forces are representative of the communities they serve.

Carding is a practice that does not meet any of the above principles.

Role of the Board

Section 31 of the Police Services Act requires that the Board establish policies, direct the chief of police, and monitor his or her performance.

Carding is a policy - not an operational issue. As such we demand that the Board immediately direct the police chief to end the practice.

In addition, section 12(1) of Regulation 58/16, with respect to carding, states, in clear and direct language, that the Board shall develop policies regarding the document to be given to individuals during a street check.  It appears that Chair Eberhard is not complying with this rule when she suggests that the contents of the document an individual receives is an operational matter. At a minimum ALL street checks MUST contain a reason for the police arbitrarily stopping someone.

(http://www.lfpress.com/2016/11/16/carding-province-gives-police-services-board-power-over-wording-of-street-check-receipt)

Role of the Chief of Police

Section 41 of the Police Services Act, state the the chief of police has a duty to administer the police force and oversee its operation in accordance with the objectives, priorities and policies established by the Police Services Board and to ensure that members of the police force carries out their duties in a “manner that reflects the needs of the community”.

Section 41(2) states: "The chief of police reports to the board and shall obey its lawful orders and directions"

The needs of our community are to end carding. As such, we ask the chief to immediately end this practice, and for the Board to direct him to do so.

Not a call to end community policing

While we are calling for an end to carding, we do still strongly encourage London Police Services to continue with a dedicated effort of community policing. Building strong relationships with community takes time and an ongoing commitment of respect. Respecting your community does not look like profiling racialized communities, or documenting people for non-criminal activity.

What else you can do:

  1. Write a letter calling for an end to carding. You can send it to Chief Pare and Board Chair Jeannette Eberhard. We've done all the work for you! Just download, add your name and send!
  2. Join a public protest at the London Police Services Headquarters on December 15th. Information will be shared here and on social media as details are finalized.
  3. Head on over to our Facebook Group. Connect with other Londoners and stay up to date on news and events! 
  4. Share this petition on social media – don’t forget to tag @John_Pare!


Today: Suze is counting on you

Suze Morrison needs your help with “Chief John Pare, London Police Services : End the racist practice of carding/street checks in London, Ontario”. Join Suze and 283 supporters today.