Draft of new police carding policy more ‘respectful’

Mar 14, 2014 | News

By Hermione Wilson

The Toronto Police’s new policy on carding doesn’t go far enough, says Kingsley Gilliam, a Black Action Defence Committee board member.

“Nothing short of ceasing and desisting this practice will satisfy us,” Gilliam told Humber News. The Black Action Defence Committee filed a lawsuit against the Toronto Police Service with regards to their carding policy in 2013.

Gilliam was present at Thursday’s board meeting when the draft was presented. He says the new policy is an attempt to dress up the carding practice so that it’s more acceptable to the public.

“What they’re trying to do is put perfume on sewage to make it smell good,” he said.


A draft of a new policy on the controversial police practice of carding has been released on the Toronto Police Service Board’s website. The Community Contacts Policy, drafted by lawyer Frank Addario, recommends that any data is collected during non-criminal interactions between the police and civilians be “non-identifiable, kept separately . . . and is not used for investigative purposes.”

The new policy reflects the fact that the police is moving towards greater knowledge of human rights, says Meaghan Gray of the Toronto Police corporate communications.

“The [Toronto Police] Service recognizes that all police interactions with the public should be respectful” Gray told Humber News.

“The language the officer uses can be decisive in determining whether a citizen is detained,” Addario stated in a legal opinion document (also posted on the TPSB website). “Telling the citizen directly that she is free to leave signals non-detention.” Constitutional law doesn’t require police to inform citizens that they can walk away from such interactions, says Addario, but it is a step the Board should consider taking.

“Most police officers are aware of the limits of their authority,” Addario states, “many citizens, in contrast, do not know when they may exercise their right to silence and their right to walk away.”

“The police have a right, for investigative purposes, to stop any individual. They don’t need any powers from the  board to tell them they can do this,” Gilliam said. “We don’t need to legitimize it in policy.”

A public meeting will be held at police headquarters on April 8 to discuss the new policy and the board hopes to finalize it by April 10.