TPAC
Toronto Police Accountability Coalition
 

Bulletins

Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 111, January 8, 2019



January 08 2019

1. Ontario Human Rights Commission study: racism in Toronto police
2. End carding in Ontario: Mr. Justice Tullochs final report
3. Bill C-75 amending the Criminal Code
4. Shift schedule changes for Toronto police




Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 111, January 8, 2019.

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 Bulletin:
1. Ontario Human Rights Commission study: racism in Toronto police
2. End carding in Ontario: Mr. Justice Tullochs final report
3. Bill C-75 amending the Criminal Code
4. Shift schedule changes for Toronto police
5. Subscribe to the Bulletin
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1. Ontario Human Rights Commission study: racism in Toronto police

The first two paragraphs of the Executive Summary of the Commissions Interim Report are pretty blunt and to the point:

Between 2013 and 2017, a Black person in Toronto was nearly 20 times more likely than a White person to be involved in a fatal shooting by the Toronto Police Service (TPS). Despite making up only 8.8% of Torontos population, data obtained by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) from the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) shows that Black people were over-represented in use of force cases (28.8%), shootings (36%), deadly encounters (61.5%) and fatal shootings (70%). Black men make up 4.1% of Torontos population, yet were complainants in a quarter of SIU cases alleging sexual assault by TPS officers.
SIU Directors Reports reveal a lack of legal basis for police stopping or detaining Black civilians in the first place; inappropriate or unjustified searches during encounters; and unnecessary charges or arrests. The information analyzed by the OHRC also raises broader concerns about officer misconduct, transparency and accountability. Courts and arms-length oversight bodies have found that TPS officers have sometimes provided biased and untrustworthy testimony, have inappropriately tried to stop the recording of incidents and/or have failed to cooperate with the SIU.
The report recommends that the police service and police board acknowledge that racial disparities and community experiences outlined in this Interim Report raise serious concerns, support the continued study, and collect and publicly report on race-based data on all stops, searches, and use of force incidents.
The full Interim Report  the complete report is promised within a year  can be found at http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/public-interest-inquiry-racial-profiling-and-discrimination-toronto-police-service/collective-impact-interim-report-inquiry-racial-profiling-and-racial-discrimination-black#Executive%20summary
This is not new information. Previous studies have come to similar conclusions. But the reaction of the Toronto Police Association is the same as it was to previous studies: the studies are flawed, the analysis is incorrect, and in any case there are reasons why Blacks feel more impacts including the fact they are over represented in poorer communities where policing is the heaviest. Toronto Star journalist Jim Rankin wrote about how police organizations have responded to conclusions about racial discrimination in the past. He began by quoting Desmond Coles response to the report: I dont believe the truth will set us free when it comes to anti-Black racism and police violence. The truth will not set us free. Weve been telling you the truth for hundreds of years.
Rankin noted that shortly after the report was issued the Toronto Police Association and police Chief Mark Saunders both, to varying degrees, attacked the messenger.
It a first email to members, sent the day after the commission released its report, the police association slammed the use of census data to make per capita comparisons. A report that fails to consider possible reasons for racial disparity in data is reckless, counterproductive and will only deepen the divide between the police and some marginalized communities, the email said. The OHRC, in turn, responded to these claims (and related matters) in a December 13, 2018 letter to the Toronto Police Association Board of Directors.

Rankins full story can be found at https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/analysis/2018/12/13/how-will-a-bombshell-report-on-disturbing-racial-data-change-toronto-policing-the-police-response-sets-the-tone.html
2. End carding in Ontario: Mr. Justice Tullochs final report

Mr. Justice Tullochs final report on police oversight and carding in Ontario was released in the first few days of the New Year. It confirms and strengthens the proposals set out in his interim report (see Bulletin No. 103, May 8, 2017) and reviews the effectiveness of the carding regulation affecting police activities.

This is a very strong and comprehensive report, respectful of police services while pointing to the directions for significant improvements in relationships with diverse communities. Our criticisms of the interim report (in Bulletin 103) pale in comparison with this final report.

The publics trust in police is the bedrock on which police legitimacy is built; thats the basis of the report, and it informs all of the recommendations.

Random street checks (defined as the gathering of information for intelligence purposes where people are identified simply to create a database of individuals it the area) ... have little or no verifiable benefits relating to the level of crime or arrests. He proposes that they should not be permitted. Officers should be trained and have articulable reasons for initial inquiries and gathering information.

He makes proposals for the recording, retention, and destruction of data. He notes that training failed to spend sufficient time on the [carding] regulation itself and the legal bases for police stops. He recommends anti-bias and implicit bias training, and a Code of Practice for training with clear, coherent, comprehensive instructions. He recommends significant public education campaigns by police.

It is beneficial to have police officers hired to work in the community which they live.

There are strong recommendations regarding police culture as an inhibiting force. It should be recognized that police culture is a powerful force that can have a strong impact on all officers ... compelling them to adopt the prevailing hierarchical norms of the organization. He proposes that police services develop diversity and inclusion strategies.

It is a long and detailed report, and the Executive Summary is certainly worth reading carefully. Mr. Justice Tulloch has created a powerful and important review of police in Ontario with reasonable recommendations. See http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/Policing/StreetChecks/ReportIndependentStreetChecksReview2018.html

Sadly the government of Premier Doug Ford has reacted with what can charitably be called a lukewarm response. First, the government released its response to the report late on New Years Eve, four days before Tulloch himself made the report public. Sylvia Jones, Minister of Community Safety, said the report would `inform her work which seems pretty weak. She also said, We are committed to developing legislation that works for our police and for the people of Ontario. Our new police legislation will reflect a simple principle: racism and discrimination have no place in policing.

But that hardly addresses the issues Tulloch grapples with. Discrimination is already prohibited by Ontario legislation: what Tulloch does is propose ways to ensure it happens with much less frequency on Ontario policing.

It will take much effort by all of us to convince police service boards and the province to implement Mr. Justice Tullochs recommendations.

3. Bill C-75 amending the Criminal Code

TPAC flied a brief with the federal government Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on the subject of Bill C-75, amending the Criminal Code. Our specific objection was with respect to the section which would have permitted officers to provide information on `routine matters to courts by way of affidavit. (See Bulletin 109.) TPAC was not the only organization which objected to this proposal.

The committee selected TPAC to present to the committee, which happened in September. In its deliberations, the committee recommended that this section of the proposed amendments be deleted, and the Bill was passed as proposed by the committee. Thats good news.

4. Shift schedule changes for Toronto police

TPAC has argued for ten years that the shift schedule adopted by the Toronto Police Service Board is a serious impediment to efficient policing. The schedule has as many officers on duty at 3 am as at 7 pm, and has officers working 28 hours in every 24 hour period.

A more realistic shift schedule would have officers available according to demands for service  just as hospitals and other organizations which maintain 24 hour service  so officers could be used with much more efficiency. Finally, it seems good change is coming to shift schedules in Toronto.

As TPAC learned meeting with a senior officer responsible for the change in shift schedules, one factor influencing the desire to obtain new shift schedules is that officers have been complaining regularly to the Toronto Police Association that the current seven day shift is too onerous. The Board and service was also interested in changing shift schedules as part of the process to reform policing.

What has also helped with the change is the principle that police structure should focus on function, not form: there are some functions for which uniformed staff are not required, and the less expensive un-uniformed staff can be used. These special officers can be used for things like non-priority calls. Community Investigative Support units  CIS  need not be uniformed staff.

In mid 2018, 54 and 55 divisions were amalgamated and there was a question of how officers should be deployed. It was decided that officers would work a new shift of 11 hours, seven days on and seven off. That led to consideration of a more general approach to changing shift schedules.

It was decided to study 41 Division. Seven options were presented, created by the consultant Strategic Direction, and officers voted on them. 80 per cent voted for what has been recommended  12 hour shifts, 5 days on and 4 days off. The number of platoons was reduced from 5 to four, which reduced management staff by three.

An analysis was made of the number of officers on duty in the division on an hourly basis according to the current shift schedule. Set against that was the number of calls for service on an hourly basis. Putting the two together showed when there were too many officers available  overstaffing - and not enough - understaffing. The challenge then is to devise a schedule that as much as possible brings staffing and demand into some kind of equilibrium.

The model devised was four platoons working 12 hour shifts with variable start times so the shifts overlap to provide more coverage in critical demand times and less coverage at other times. Start times are: 6am  6 pm; 7am  7 pm; 3 pm  3 am; 6 pm  6 am; 7pm  7 am. Thus between 3 pm and 6 pm, three sets of officers are available; and between 7 pm and 3 am, three sets of officers are available, but only 2 sets of officers between 3am and 3 pm, two sets of officers are available. This schedule reduces (although it does not eliminate) under and over staffing. It means that the number of officers available changes during the day to roughly coincide with demand for service.

The shift schedule only applies to officers working the Primary Response Units. Community Response Units, CRUs, which deal with community events and protests, work 10 hour shifts which vary according to events and expected protests.

A decision has been made that there need not be a common shift schedule for the whole police force  different division have different needs, and thus can have shift schedules appropriate to them.

Variable shift schedules are now being considered for all divisions, with the key variable being start times. The number of divisions is being reduced from 17 to 10 districts, which means there will be further savings in supervisory staff.

5. 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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