Halifax police commission recommends suspending street checks

Halifax regional council’s police commission is recommending Halifax Regional Police and RCMP stop doing street checks.

The checks allow police officers to document information about a person they believe could be of significance to a future investigation, and record details such as their ethnicity, gender, age and location.

The police commission voted on a motion brought forward by Coun. Lindell Smith, who previously said there is an anti-black bias in policing the black community in Halifax.

The recommendation will go to Nova Scotia RCMP Chief Supt. Lee Bergerman and former Halifax police chief Jean-Michel Blais for consideration.

An independent report released last month found that black people were street checked at a rate six times higher than white people in Halifax.

Halifax Coun. Lindell Smith speaks during a rally calling for a ban on street checks last month. (Brian MacKay/CBC)

Justice Minister Mark Furey said he hoped to have a decision on street checks by the end of last week before the closing of the spring session of the legislature, but he missed that deadline.

The 180-page report by Scot Wortley, a University of Toronto criminology professor, found the practice of street checks has a disproportionate and negative impact on the black community, contributing to the criminalization of black youth.

Following the report’s release, Furey directed police across the province to stop using quotas for street checks.

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