Policy a welcome addition to tricky practice of carding

Mar 21, 2014 By Matthew Friedberg

A new policy that aims to better protect individuals stopped by police for street checks represents a positive step toward striking a balance between crime prevention strategies and respecting constitutional rights, says Toronto criminal lawyer Matthew Friedberg.

The policy, recently presented in its draft form at a Toronto Police Services Board meeting, addresses the practice of police stopping people on the street and then making out “cards” of information, the Toronto Star reports. The article says darker-skinned citizens have been stopped in disproportionate numbers.

The new guidelines would ensure that officers are instructed about the importance of telling an individual that they are free to leave if they are not detained or arrested; that police know they should use “respectful language, tone and demeanour” during their encounters; and that such street checks are “not pretexts to be entered into for the purpose of acquiring the ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ which justify investigative detention,” the Star reports.