Thursday , April 15 2021

A judge from Ontario says carding does not work. But will politicians listen?

A judge from Ontario, who earlier this week called for the removal of random street checks, will talk about the results of an independent review he conducted in police practice, known as "carding," Friday morning.

Appeal Court The 310-page Magazine of Michael Tulloch, published Monday, has combined 11 months of provincial consultations with thousands of people, including community groups, members of the public, and 34 police forces.

"There is little evidence that a random collection, unoccupied with identification information, has benefits that outweigh the social cost of practice," Tulloch wrote in the report.

Carding, he concluded, is of no value as a law enforcement tool and should be significantly limited, given the "social cost" of practice.

The way in which the province and municipalities intend to respond to recommendations remains to be seen.

A "considerable effort" with "little to zero" results

Tulloch's review complied with new rules on street controls introduced in 2016, urging the police to inform people during a street check that they are not required to provide identification information. This move followed years of examination on the background of data showing that officers have disproportionately stopped blacks and other racial men.

The Ontario police have long argued that street checks have an investigative value – which Tulloch has disputed in his report.

"An expanded program of random street controls involves considerable time and effort for a police service with little or no verifiable results in terms of crime levels or even arrests," he wrote. "Some police have reported that there are other ways to collect data or use data that they already have."

But exactly when street controls should be allowed is not as clear.

Among the recommendations in the report, Tulloch advised the government to adopt a stricter line on roadside controls, tightening definitions of terms such as "identification of information" and "suspicious circumstances" and widening of protections during vehicle stops. Street checks, he said, may be valuable in cases where there are clear suspicious circumstances or when the police are looking for a missing person or a victim of the crime.

Tulloch, who was hired by the former Ontario liberal government to assess the effectiveness of new regulations to limit the impact of street checks on racial groups, said these circumstances are very specific and that overall practice should be reduced drastically.

The Friday event is billed as an opportunity for the public and media members to ask questions about the findings.

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