With new street check guidelines going into effect January 1, 2017, police associations across the province are starting to learn how they’ll be expected to handle the controversial practice.
In London, police officers will be required to fill out and hand over receipts of the interactions they have with people they’ve stopped.
However, the police services board learned at its meeting Thursday that police do not need to write down the reason why they stopped somebody.
During the meeting, Mayor Matt Brown and Councillor Stephen Turner made their concerns clear, saying that they want more information about how the new procedure is implemented.
“I think that this is a significant change in practice,” Brown said. “One of the things that we need to ensure as a board is that people’s rights are being protected, and also that the form is easily understood and accessible. If people are being told if they’re stopped, that there’s a way to gather more information, then it needs to be very explicit.”
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Yasir Naqvi said at the time that the revamped regulations set out “clear and consistent rules” for voluntary interactions between the police and members of the public.
Among the new rules, police must tell a person they are free to leave the conversation at any time, and race cannot play a factor in the reason for the stop.
During Thursday’s board meeting, Deputy Chief Steve Williams said that the law doesn’t require police to write down the reason.
But Councillor Turner believes it should be.
“Even though we say this is the minimum, (the legislation) also says that this is the minimum, (but) it doesn’t restrict us from going further. It is part of the legislation that a reason should be able to be articulated. Whether it’s recorded on the receipt or not, that’s the debate. If a police officer has to give a reason for stopping somebody during a traffic stop, why wouldn’t they do it in this interaction as well?”
The board is expected to receive a report from police by the implementation date to get a better understanding of the procedure.
If that report isn’t sufficient, another report will be requested when more information becomes available.