Anti-carding advocates won a symbolic victory at the London Police Services Board meeting on Thursday afternoon.
Mayor Matt Brown presented a motion from London City Council that called for the practice of carding or street checks to end immediately.
The motion was a result of a vote last month. London City Council became the first Canadian municipality to vote in favour of ending street checks.
Board members heard from two street check opponents on Thursday, and received a petition calling for an end to the practice with over 250 signatures.
After some discussion over the inclusion of the phrase “street checks” in the motion, the board amended them, defining street checks as “arbitrary, random or discriminatory interactions between the police and the public.”
In addition, in an amended motion, the board voted to ‘recommend’ Chief John Pare immediately and permanently end the practice, as described in the motion.
A previous version of the motion ‘directed’ the board end the practice.
Mayor Matt Brown was disappointed by the wording changes.
“I wanted to use the strongest language possible, and that’s why I used the word ‘direct’ the Chief to end carding,” said Brown. “It wasn’t supported by the Board, there were subsequent motions brought forward that recommended the Chief end carding effective immediately. I supported that, [but] it’s not the strong language I was hoping for.”
Speaking after the meeting, Police Chief John Pare said their officers will be held accountable.
“The regulations help to clear up some of the gaps that we had in our own policies and procedures, and some accountability, so we are accountable to the community so everyone has to follow those regulations and we will be held accountable,” said Pare.
Pare said the motions voted on Thursday support the new provincial legislation, which officers will follow come January 1st.
Carding is when police stop an individual to collect information. Critics argue statistics show visible minorities are disproportionately targeted, and police have been accused of exploiting the fact that many people don’t realize they’re voluntary.
Starting January 1st, Police will be provincially mandated to tell any carded individual that they don’t have to answer questions. Police will also give them a receipt at the end.
Pare has rejected calls to include a reason for the street check on the receipt, citing privacy concerns. Pare indicated he doesn’t need the board’s approval for the decision.