Jan 06 2015
TORONTO - A routine order issued Jan. 1 by Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said card- ing will be “suspended until further notice,” according to Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray, who said in an email that Blair would not be commenting on the deci- sion until next month.
“The Chief will not be speaking publicly on the issue until he has had an opportunity to discuss it with the Board at the next meet- ing,” wrote Gray.
The move comes after a December police board meeting at which Mayor John Tory, in his first appearance at the board, said the con- tinuation of carding was “corrosive in a way that is fundamentally inconsistent with how we do things in Toronto and Canada. And how we live.”
The board passed a motion asking the chief to finalize carding procedures by Feb.
19 that are in line with the board’s new com- munity contacts policy — which passed in April and emphasizes citizen rights, includ- ing the right of an individual to walk away from the encounter if the person is not being investigated for a specific crime.
Blair first floated the idea of suspending carding at a PACER advisory committee meeting late last year, after he was called in to resolve an impasse between community members and senior police staff, who were resisting writing procedures that were faithful to the board policy.
Police have always defended carding as an invaluable investigative tool, a way to gather information, and PACER committee members said senior officers felt informing citizens of their rights would be a “burden.”
The draft procedures also left out a narrow definition of when police could card, which was mandated by the board.