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Carding damage already done by Toronto Police

The police have created an atmosphere where friendly conversation when doing street checks is unlikely to come from the very people they have been “carding” and harassing for years, says Toronto criminal lawyer Jordana Goldlist.

The first draft of a new police “carding” policy won’t call for elimination of the practice because it would drive potentially biased behaviour underground, the Toronto Star reports. Instead, the policy introduced at a recent Toronto Police Services Board meeting will try to improve the rights of those who are stopped by police.

The article says officers will continue to collect personal information in their notebooks, but the information will only be retained and entered into an investigative database if it has value to public safety. That data, including sex, race and age, among other things, will be kept in a separate database so police stops can be analyzed. The information will remain anonymous so individuals can’t be identified, the article says.

“I just wonder how these principles are going to be translated into practice; how they will be implemented in order to provide A meaningful result?” asks Goldlist. “I will be shocked to hear that the police are approaching people in the same neighbourhoods they used to card and advising them that they are free to walk away, but asking if they care to engage in some friendly conversation?”

Goldlist says at this point it is going to take a lot more than good intentions and well-meaning principles to repair the damage caused by the practice of carding.

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