TPAC
Toronto Police Accountability Coalition
 

Bulletins

Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 93, November 30, 2015.



November 30 2015

1. Carding: draft regulations
2. Amending the Police Services Act
3. Diverting youth from the criminal justice system
4. The 2015 police operating budget
5. Police violence
6. New member of Police Services Board



Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 93, November 30, 2015.

This Bulletin is published by the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition (TPAC), a group of individuals and organizations in Toronto interested in police policies and procedures, and in making police more accountable to the community they are committed to serving. Our website is http://www.tpac.ca
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In this issue:
1. Carding: draft regulations
2. Amending the Police Services Act
3. Diverting youth from the criminal justice system
4. The 2015 police operating budget
5. Police violence
6. New member of Police Services Board
7. Subscribe to the Bulletin
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1. Carding: draft regulations

Following the consultations reported in the last Bulletin, The Minister of Community Safety released a draft regulation to control the manner in which police officers in Ontario will be permitted to stop and question individuals. ( See http://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=20202&language=en )

The regulation intends to prohibit the collection of identifying information based solely on race and on random or arbitrary stops. Officers would be able to ask for identifying information only where they believe that the information would assist in identifying individuals known or reasonably suspected to be engaged in illegal activities.

Officers would be required to inform individuals why the information is being collected, and that they are free to walk away and not answer questions.

Some police chiefs are arguing that carding serves a good purpose, and a handful of examples have been used to show that carding information has been successful in crime investigation. But that handful hardly justifies the hundreds of thousands of carding incidents that have occurred each year in Ontario, and nothing justifies the fact that every police force on which data has been made public has carded many more youth with black skin than anyone else. If anything, the comments by those chiefs who support carding has shown how much police are out of step with public sentiment and the law.

Comment on the draft regulation remains open until December 12, 2015. See http://www.ontariocanada.com/registry

TPAC responded to what we saw as five deficiencies in the draft regulation. Our letter follows, and specific suggested amendments begin **.

A. Section 1(2) reads:
This Regulation does not apply with respect to an attempt by a police officer to collect identifying information from an individual if, &.(d) the officer is investigating a particular offence;

Officers doing carding in the past have often justified the stop to individuals by saying they were investigating an offence without ever offering more details of the offence or how it relates to the individual stopped. Many of those stopped have said that was simply a ruse by the officer and that they believed that no offence in which that individual was involved formed the basis of the stop.

Officers are given many good reasons for the stop and this spurious reason should not be permitted as a way to get around the restrictions on stops.

Accordingly, **Section 1(2)(d) should be deleted.

B. Section 4(1) reads: A police officer shall not attempt to collect identifying information about an individual from the individual if, (a) any part of the reason for the attempted collection is that the officer perceives the individual to be within a particular racialized group unless, (i) the officer is seeking a particular individual in the course of doing anything set out in subparagraph 1 i or ii of subsection (2), and (ii) being within the racialized group forms part of a credible description of the particular individual or is evident from a visual representation of the particular individual; or (b) the attempted collection is done in an arbitrary way.

As worded, this section is very unclear. What Section 4(1)(a)(ii) seems to prevent is stopping a person when race is the sole characteristic which creates a similarity between this person and the description of the person the police are looking for. Further, (a)(i) is a negative following a negative. We believe the section should be reworded as follows:

**4. (1) A police officer shall not attempt to collect identifying information about an individual from the individual if any part of the reason for the attempted collection is that the officer perceives the individual to be within a particular racialized group and the attempted collection is done in an arbitrary way.

** 4(1A) Racial characteristics alone may not be the basis for an attempt to collect identifying information about an individual.

C. Section 6 outlines the information an officer must provide to an individual. Section 5(1) requires an officer to inform the individual why the information is being collected.
This information should also be written down so that there is no chance of misinterpretation of why the stop occurred by either the individual or the officer.

Accordingly, a new Section 6(1A) should be added:
**Section 6(1A). The reason for the attempted collection.

D. Section 8 deals with the placing of collected information in police data bases. Section 8(5) 2 reads, If it is determined that the officer does not appear to have had a reason that met the requirements of section 4, the identifying information shall be retained, subject to the procedures developed under section 12 in relation to paragraph 6 of subsection 11 (1), in a database under the control of the police force but access to such retained information shall be restricted in accordance with subsection (7).

This subsection seems to make a mockery of the basis of the regulation in that it permits information gathered in contravention of the regulation to be recorded in police data bases. The subsection should be amended to read:

**Section 8(5) 2. If it is determined that the officer does not appear to have had a reason that met the requirements of section 4, the identifying information shall be expunged from the data base without delay.

E. The regulation does not address the important question of the data collected by stops in the past and now in police data bases. We believe it should be destroyed forthwith. Accordingly, a new Section 8(8) should be added:

**Section 8(8) Identifying information collected by officers before this regulation came into force shall be removed from police data bases and destroyed forthwith.

2. Amending the Police Services Act

As reported in the last Bulletin, the Minister of Community Safety has indicated his intention of generally overhauling the Police Services Act. TPAC has submitted a lengthy brief to the Minister on this matter. Some of the changes recommended are:
*requires police to co-operate with social agencies, private security, and communities (Sec. 1)
*asks police training to be on the campus of an existing community college or university (Sec 3)
*redefines core police services away from simple crime fighting to reflect actual work done (Sec 4)
* expands police service boards in larger cities to 12 or more members (sec 27)
* requires police service boards to set operational policy, to be more transparent; outlines their many duties; makes the chief subservient to the board (Sec 31)
*expands duties of officers to protect and respect human rights and rule of law (Sec 42)
* hires officers by job description rather than as recruits at the bottom (Sec 43)
* restricts paid duty work to no more than 20 per cent of regular hours (Sec 49)
*makes special constables subject to OIPRD and SIU (Sec 49)
* dissolves OIPRD (Sec 56  98) and expands SIU to report on reasonableness of police actions as well as possible crimes (Sec 113)
* requires hearing officer in misconduct cases to not be a police officer (Sec 82)
* permits chief to suspend an officer without pay (Sec 89).

The full TPAC brief may be found at http://www.tpac.ca/show_issues.cfm?id=194 . The consultation period apparently continues to be open for the review of the Police Services Act, and letters should be addressed to the Minister of Community Safety, Yasir Naqvi.

3. Diverting youth from the criminal justice system

The Chief was required by the Toronto Police Services Board, by its motion in June 2015, to report to the Board in October on the establishment of a youth pre-charge diversion program. That report has yet to surface, although the police service has independently announced that a diversion program will begin in January 2016.

It is unclear how the new program will work: what the criteria for diversion rather than use of the criminal justice system will be; what the targets are for diversion; which officers will be involved in the program. Further, it is unclear just who the police service has consulted with in creating this program. What we need is a vibrant and successful pre-charge diversion strategy for youth. The Board should require the filing of the report it asked for.

4. The 2015 police operating budget

The Police Services Board has approved an operating budget for the Toronto police service in 2016 of $1007 million, that is, slightly over one billion dollars. The city had asked that the budget be one per cent less than last year, but the police said that was not possible. In October the police service had submitted a budget of $1015 million and the Board asked for cuts: those cuts amounted to just $9 million. The approved budget is $50 million more than the 2015 budget the Board actually approved a year ago when it was asked to flat line its expenditures to $957 million, the 2013 level, but four months later that 2015 budget was increased to $980 million.

Police say the major reason for the increase is last years agreement on wage and benefit increases which will cost $32 million in 2016. But as usual, the Board and service have done nothing about the extraordinarily costly inefficiencies of having as many officers on duty at 4 am as at 7 pm, or about the two officers in a car requirement after dark. Nor has the service gone through a serious program of replacing officers with civilians, which can probably be done for at least 10 percent of the positions now occupied by officers.

As well, the Board has refused to make the actual budget public. The Board decision was on a summary report filed by the chief. A six page line item summary was posted on-line two days before the last Board meeting, but it does not permit direct comparisons with last years budget which was made public after Board approval and it showed majority discrepancies with what the chief had stated in his report to the Board. It will be interesting to see what the 2016 budget states in comparison with 2015.

A Freedom of Information Request has been made to secure the 2016 budget as approved. It is amazing that an FOI is required to get information on the largest single item in the citys budget. Whose money do the mayor and other Board members think they are spending?

5. Police violence

Two disturbing interventions by the Toronto Police came to light in mid-November. One was a video of a man being pummelled by police as he lay on the ground  punched and kicked for more than two minutes. http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2015/11/18/man-sues-toronto-police-for-5m-over-violent-arrest.html

Once subdued, the young man was immediately released as police admitted he was not the suspect they were looking for. A police spokesman tried to explain the incident away by saying police had just received a call about a man with a knife, and the person in the video fit the description of the suspect. That kind of explanation seems premised on the assumption that if the police have to arrest someone, they should assault him first. A law suit has now been commenced by the young man.

The second incident involved the Emergency Task Force arriving for a man locked in the bathroom. The man was tasered and died. http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2015/11/19/toronto-mans-death-after-arrival-of-taser-wielding-police-now-being-investigated.html . The Special Investigation Unit is looking into this.

6. New member of Police Services Board

Ken Jeffers has recently been appointed by the provincial government to the Toronto Police Services Board. Jeffers came to Canada from Trinidad in the late 1960s, and rose to become a senior manager in the citys Parks and Recreation department, and later the head of the citys Access and Diversity division. He has been active in many community organizations serving the black community, and helped found the African Canadian Legal Clinic

7. Subscribe to the Bulletin

To subscribe or unsubscribe to this Bulletin, please send a note to info@tpac.ca with the instructions in the subject line or in the text of the message. Our e-mail list is confidential and will not be made available to others. There is no charge for the Bulletin. Our website is http://www.tpac.ca.
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