Michael Kempa: Police street checks promote community safety? Prove it

Stop and Frisk NAZI KKKanada

National Post | Full Comment

A quiet Ontario provincial court decision this week raises the definitive core of the heated – but agonizingly unfocussed and slowly productive – debate on the controversial practice of police street checks that has plagued Toronto for almost two years.

The rest of the Canada should watch the fallout closely, for what it will mean for how policing will and should be done right across the country.

Street checks involve the police stopping citizens who are passing through high-crime areas — but who are not suspected of crimes — to gather information. Such personal details as the age, race, gender, family status and nature of the associations between people who are stopped together are recorded and entered into a police data base.

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Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has said that the information gathered through street checks is essential for effective policing. But the police’s own data show that…

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