Report proves no racial disparity in street checks Vancouver police chief

first_imgVANCOUVER – An internal report is recommending an overhaul of the Vancouver Police Department’s use of random street checks, even though it has found “no statistical basis” to conclude officers use the checks to discriminate against certain races.The report’s six recommendations include calls to formalize existing street check standards, make street check data public and continue training sessions to ensure officers stay within their legal authority when conducting the checks.Chief Const. Adam Palmer commissioned the study following complaints earlier this year from the BC Civil Liberties Association and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs about the checks, also referred to as “carding.”He is recommending an independent analysis of the street check data, saying it will provide a balanced perspective to the city, province and police to make policies.Palmer said street checks occur in areas with the highest rates of violent crimes or they are used to check the well-being of at-risk Indigenous women.Josh Paterson, the executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association, welcomed Palmer’s recommendation.“We know the police want to protect people in the city of Vancouver, we know they want to find the best ways possible to prevent and fight crime, but one of the things is through the tools they choose, there can be a disproportionate impact in racialized and Indigenous communities,” he said.Advocacy groups wanted B.C.’s police complaint commissioner to investigate an apparent racial disparity linked to carding, pointing to data showing Indigenous people make up 15 per cent of street checks, yet form just two per cent of the population.The report says well-being checks may account for the high rate of carding of Indigenous women, which the civil liberties group said made up 21 per cent of all checks of women in 2016, although Indigenous women only account for two per cent of Vancouver’s female population. Over a 10-year period, the report says 53 per cent of Indigenous women who were subjected to street checks were the subject of a missing person report.Chief Bob Chamberlin, the vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said he doesn’t trust that statistic.“I find that to lead me down a path where they interacted with an Aboriginal woman and they discovered she was part of a missing person report and that could be years old, so I think it’s a bit of a fortuitous grabbing, and I think that kind of interpretation — if that occurred — is what then skews the data,” he said.Palmer said because the police don’t have a specific category for well-being checks they will add that to the system so they can follow the data more effectively.last_img read more