Not enough information to prove Vancouver police conducting racially-biased street checks: report

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Not enough information exists to prove that Vancouver police are conducting racially biased street-checks, according to a second review.

The Vancouver Police Department hired former Edmonton police officer and consultant Ruth Montgomery to take a closer look after data showed an over-representation of people who are black and Indigenous being checked by officers.

The 200-page report says it is “reasonable” and “plausible” that minorities are over-represented when it comes to being stopped on the street by police.

However, the data available is largely subjective and sensitive to officer interpretation of someone’s ethnicity, Montgomery says in the report.

Most street checks occur on the Downtown Eastside, where people who are Indigenous are over-represented.

About 90 per cent of those stopped by police were considered “chargeable,” according to the latest information.

That more than likely shows evidence of over-policing in already criminalized and marginalized communities, said Meenakshi Mannoe, a campaigner with Pivot Legal Society.

“And having a police record or criminal record should not be the basis for a street stop,” she added.

Pivot Legal and the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre are calling for a moratorium on police street stops.

The new report also points out there is no training for officers to learn how to better perform “quality street checks” and that often police fail to tell people, at first, why they are being stopped.

Vancouver police changed the department policy for street checks in January, ending discretionary stops.

After being criticized for targeting Indigenous people and visible minorities, the updated policy says front-line officers now need what is considered a “justifiable reason to demand or request identifying information” from someone.

– with NEWS 1130 files

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