While a city committee is leading the charge to end carding in London, a police spokesperson suggests it won’t go quietly.
The practice has been heavily criticized for targeting minority groups and many have called for it to be banned; the community and protective services committee voted 6-0 Tuesday night in favour of asking the London Police to do just that.
If approved by full council, a letter will be sent to Mayor Brown, who will then deliver it to London Police.
However, it’s not expected to be welcomed with open arms as police continue to defend the practice.
“The reason the police are so opposed to banning is that we feel it will impact community safety and all we can do is attempt to convince the powers that be that it’s a necessary tool,” says Rick Robson, President of the London Police Association.
“At the end of the day, if we’re told to stop, we stop but I hope the people in the community who do believe it’s an important tool understand that and will voice their concerns.”
Councillor Mo Salih stresses that at this point, there’s no concrete evidence to support carding.
“No one has yet to prove that with any statistical evidence or any significant evidence other than anecdotal stories. I can give you any anecdotal example to justify any kind of practice or anything, whether it’s right or wrong. The reality is, it’s not effective. The bigger item is that it’s a matter of violating people’s rights,” Salih tells AM980.
“When you start to tear down bridges in the community while you’re policing that community, then you have less of the community on your side and it only becomes harder to police.”
Robson confirms there is currently no way to show publicly the impact of carding.
“Part of the failure in the system is that there never was the expectation from the police perspective that we would have to substantiate that it was a positive, working enforcement tool.”
The motion to call on police to scrap carding follows the release from police of a draft receipt that would be given to members of the public subjected to street checks come January.
Under revamped rules from the province, police officers will not have to state the reason why they’re performing a street check on a member of the public.
Mayor Matt Brown and Councillor Stephen Turner expressed concern and requested a report back to the police services board on the possibility of including a reason in the paperwork.
Police Chief John Pare said the receipt would not include a reason for the stop, saying he made his decision after receiving legal advice which identified privacy concerns.